There's just something about murals. I don't know if it's their size, the detailing, the underlying message or the image but I'm drawn to them.
Last Saturday, I took an impromptu trip to Philadelphia to the Auto Show to see if I could trade my 100,000 + miles logged PT Cruiser for something new and shiny. Before I spent my early evening with Honda and Mercedes Benz (just looking!), I made a pit stop at the 9th Street Italian Market. My dad considers his run-through shopping spree every time he visits Philadelphia, cannolis at Termini, tomato pie from Sarcone's, and butter cookies from Isgro's... just as important as it would be riding Splash Mountain at Disney World. As much as I enjoyed the 2.5 million grams of sugar I consumed on Saturday, it was frigid cold walking down the city streets.
However, I was able to regain a positive view of the city of brotherly love whenever I walked by one of their fantastic murals. Although most of the murals I saw were historical, paying homage to great Philadelphian leaders, after a bit of research I discovered there is an organization dedicated to creating over 100 community murals each year to provide free, quality art education programs to youth at risk. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program works to create murals to reflect the culture of the neighborhoods they are created in.
Across the pond in London, international real estate firm Hines and the Royal Academy Schools are shaking it up when trying to "showcase the close relationship that continues to exist between art, community, and architecture in developments that reshape the city skyline." They have launched an on-line competition, One Spirit Showcase, and have invited the public to vote for their favorite artwork from a slew of talented Royal Academy School students.
The winning artwork will be exhibited on London's largest urban gallery in the form of a super-sized canvas stretched across the southern side of a street in Central London. The winning artist's work will be displayed on the building, viewable from Piccadilly.
I won't tell you who I voted for, but I'll tell you to visit http://www.onespiritshowcase.com/ and cast your vote. Between canvases and murals, urban galleries are everywhere, giving sometimes a much-needed face lift to cityscapes. As for me, it put a bit more skip in my steps down those cold city streets.