Philadelphia's extraordinary Mural Arts Program
, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, is known citywide for its colorful work. More than 3,600 murals have been produced since Mayor Wilson Goode hired artist Jane Golden to head the program in 1984.
According to Golden, over the past five years the organization has become especially interested in "gateway projects
" -- artworks situated at exit and entrance destinations, such as airports, interstates or major intersections.
"I just think it's so important that we think about what people see when they're leaving and entering Philadelphia," she explains.
It was that idea that led Golden and her staff to begin a three-year courtship with Katharina Grosse
, the celebrated Berlin-based contemporary painter responsible for Mural Arts' latest large-scale gateway project, psychylustro
, which was recently constructed along a stretch of Amtrak's Northeast Rail Corridor
between 30th Street Station and North Philadelphia Station.
Reminiscent of the grand outdoor projects that have turned artists like Christo and Jeanne-Claude
into household names, psychylustro
(pronounced psyche-LUSTRO) consists of a three-mile series of seven different color-drenched installations. There are warehouse walls, building façades and random stretches of green space, all meant to be viewed from the window of a moving train.
"We really want people to see what we see," says Golden, referring to the industrial, ruined, stunning sites that have been transformed by pops of Grosse's color. "We see the deterioration but we also see the beauty; we see the history; we see Philadelphia’s past."
Visit the Mural Arts website
for a project map, details about viewing the works from various city bridges, and information about the mobile audio component that accompanies psychylustro
Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Jane Golden, Mural Arts Project