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Streets Dept Presents: Philly’s Top 13 Street Art Moments of 2022

December 28, 2022

Welcome back to Streets Dept‘s annual tradition looking back at some of Philly’s most notable street/public art moments of the past year!

First, a disclaimer: I’m using the term “street art” loosely here. What you’ll find on this list is a representation of this year through the eyes of this blog and you, our readers. That means you’ll find both large-scale and small-scale works of art on this list. Art that was commissioned (aka public art), as well as art that was not (aka street art). Art that responds to more universal experiences, as well as art that represents a more individualist expression. But all the artworks on this list were new and installed in Philly’s public space in 2022 and documented by Streets Dept.

In the past I used to divide this list into two separate lists: a street art list and a public art list. But, I find mixing them together like this is not only more interesting but also ultimately how we all experience art in the public space. You can find just as much connection to a singular street artist’s wheatpaste as you can a work of public art that took many more people, organizations, and funders to create.

Lastly, as always, this list is built by both you and me! The list is comprised of installations that I’ve documented and written about for this blog and/or Streets Dept’s social media in 2022. And since I can’t document or know about everything that happens, it is in a way curated by me. Its order, however, is largely chosen by you, our readers. Mostly by how much the articles and the social media posts about each project were viewed and shared by you. In short, you’re engagement with and excitement towards Streets Dept’s posts documenting these artworks helped to built this list and its order! (Note: if you’re an artist creating in Philly and you want to be documented by Streets Dept, please read here.)

So without further ado, here is Streets Dept’s list of the 13 most talked about works of art that we saw in Philly’s public space in 2022:

#13: Marianela Fuentes Makes A Monument

In June, a new monument was unveiled at Philly’s Navy Yard. Titled Alpha Sacred Beings (The Origin of Creation), the artwork was created by lead artist Marianela Fuentes along with public arts group, Group X and artists from the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Designed as “a monument symbolizing a bridge between two Indigenous Nations,” you can view the artwork yourself at League Island Park (11th Street and Constitution Avenue).

See original post here.

Watch a short film about this artwork’s creation on Group X’s YouTube here.

#12: Klip Collective In The Gayborhood

Klip Collective make some of the most dynamic art projects coming out of Philly these days, and their artwork installed in March has created such a surprise-and-delight moment for folks walking past its Juniper and Sansom Streets location in the Gayborhood. Klip often does massive projects with awesome collaborators around the region and country–like what they currently have going on with Grounds For Sculpture outside of Trenton, New Jersey. So, it’s really nice when you can get a peek at their work in the city with an installation like this!

See original post here.

#11: Bobby Hunter All Over Philly

In March, we documented a South Street wheatpaste installation from the Bridesburg born-and-raised self taught artist, Bobby Hunter–and chances are good you’ve seen his work around Philly this year too. That’s because Bobby has, in classic street art form, got up (nearly) everywhere this year. After running this blog for nearly 12 years, its always fun to see new artists come in and excitedly paste the town! And Bobby’s style is so cheery and playful, it’s hard not to feel that joy yourself when you come across one of his installations.

See original post here.

#10: Afromation Avenue In West Philly

The idea of artists and Philadelphia public school teachers, Kristin Kelly and Brittni Jennings, this October a new project called Afromation Avenue amplified Black voices with street signs in West Philly! Created with fellow artists Marian Bailey and Lindsay Bedford, along with partners at Mural Arts Philadelphia and Streets Dept Walls (aka, yes, this blog,) the artwork signs were installed along the 52nd Street Commercial Corridor, Laura Sims Skate House, and Malcolm X Park. This is one of those ideas and projects that was ultimately so beloved that its creators are already planning to create another set of signs in new Philly locations in 2023. Make sure you’re following the project’s Instagram account for ways you can learn about and participate in its next iteration!

Read more about the project from its creators here.

See Streets Dept’s Instagram video about the project here.

#9: Ball-Nogues Studio On The Delaware

This March, an interesting new sculpture began to be installed on busy Delaware Avenue, and our collective curiosity loved solving the mystery. Located next to Race Street Pier and steps from Cherry Street Pier, we ultimately learned the new public artwork was created by the design and fabrication group, Ball-Nogues Studio, and commissioned by the City of Philadelphia, Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy, Public Art Office with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation through its Waterfront Arts Program.

You can read about the artwork and see how we used this blog and Streets Dept’s social media to get info on it in our original post here. I really like this piece and think it’s a wonderful addition to Delaware Avenue! But I also think you (our readers) and I love to solve a public art mystery, and that’s part of why this ranked so high. So if y’all ever see something new on the streets and you want Streets Dept to “investigate,” tweet or email me!

#8: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s Soaring Mural

Located at 13th and Spruce Streets, I can’t overstate how much I love this new mural completed in October by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and Mural Arts Philadelphia!

My jaw dropped when I first saw Mural Arts’ Instagram story about this mural going up in the Gayborhood. You know, I always have a “go shoot” list of new murals that I need to go photograph when the weather and my schedule collaborate to give me time and space to do so. It’s why sometimes I don’t post about a new mural immediately, because there’s always just so much new work to document. But in the case of this mural by Tatyana, I stopped everything I was doing to photograph it as soon as it was officially done. And I say all of that to say, I really freaking love this project.

See original post here.

#7: Tiny Room For Elephants (TRFE)’s Triumphant Return

On pause since the beginning of the pandemic, the summer of 2022 saw the return of Tiny Room For Elephants (TRFE)! Since its inception in 2014, TRFE has grown from a small, underground art and music event into a large and spectacular festival—as well as an artist collective, agency, and creative consultancy. This year’s exhibition followed in the footstep’s of its 2019 iteration and took place at Cherry Street Pier where 43 visual artists and dozens of DJs and music producers participated. There’s really nothing in Philly like it, and we absolutely love it!

See original post here.

#6: irregular’s Mirrored Street Art

New street art that’s conceptually original, created/installed in a new or unusual way, and is just pleasantly inescapable (i.e., all over the place,) always grabs my attention. And when it comes to those standards no new street artist has had a year quite like irregular! It honestly reminds me of how excited I was to start to see the work of Reed Bmore back in the day. Artwork and a process so thoughtful and unique. And one of my favorite things with irregular is his respect and homage to fellow street artists who also create just amazing work. That part, naturally, reminding me of Sean 9 Lugo‘s constant and ongoing support of fellow creatives.

We’ve been so impressed with irregular that, as we announced a few weeks ago, he’ll be interviewed in our 2023 Streets Dept Magazine coming out this January. So stay tuned for that! In the meantime:

Read about irregular’s collaborative projects here.

And see his first mirrored street art installation here.

#5: SquidFacts’ Street Science

Completely from left field–that’s how I’d describe this smile-inducing exercise in science street art! When I first started seeing stickers and small wheatpastes on the street encouraging passersby to text a number to learn facts about squids, I thought, Well that’s interesting. I thought that in large part because they each appeared to be hand-made. not printed or mass produced. And these little squid-shaped prompts ended up on endless street polls, newspaper boxes, and construction walls around the city. That’s a lot of work for a quick joke–there must be something here, I conduced. And there was!

Created by popular Philly-based scientist, Sarah McAnulty, I soon learned “SquidFacts” is now an ongoing project to bring science into people’s lives in a lighthearted and fun way by spreading the gospel of how weird (and I mean that with respect and awe) squids truly are.

See original post here.

#4: Deborah Kass’ Old City “OY/YO”

I first saw Deborah Kass’ “OY/YO” sculpture in New York City back in 2016. I loved it, that’s why I blogged about it. So fast forward to my surprise when I got an email in 2022 from one of my favorite local museums, The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, telling me that “OY/YO” was going to be installed at 5th and Market Streets in May! They were even kind enough to invite me out to document its historic installation and talk with the artist. Honestly, a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

See original post here.

Watch my TikTok video with the artist and curator here.

#3: Get Up And The Phanatic

Get Up (sometimes referred to as Get Up Art) is a local street artist I’ve long admired. In the early years of this blog, Get Up was a regular fixture, creating some of the most eye-catching wheatpaste and stencil work of the early 2010s. His work is possibly best known for playing with iconic and/or everyday symbols of Philadelphia, like Ben Franklin, Mayor Street, Chill Moody, and even the Pope’s 2015 visit. Wanna feel nostalgic? You can click the following dates to see his work from JUNE 2011, OCT 2012, JUNE 2012, AUG 2012, AUG 2014, and AUG 2015! Naturally, when the Phillies got into the World Series, there was no one better to pay homage to the moment. And your Instagram likes and TikTok views agreed.

See original post here.

#2: Sidewalk Installs In Fairmount

If you’ve been reading this post to this point you know a couple things. One, public art mysteries are catnip to you and me. And, we love a truly uncommon practice of creating art on the streets. Or in this case, in the sidewalks. And our Streets Dept blog and social media posts about an anonymous mosaic artist who created a pseudonym to participate in an interview with Streets Dept Contributor, Eric Dale to tell their story–well, it went Streets-Dept-viral! That artist, who now goes by the name Sidewalk, captured our street-art-loving hearts, and I’m so glad we know the history behind this previously head-scratching Fairmount sidewalk art mystery.

See the original post here.

#1: Adult Swim Fishtown Murals

Created by first-time muralists Nazeer SabreeBranche Coverdale, and Zeinab Diomande, the three new murals created this summer in Fishtown as part of a collaboration with Streets Dept Walls (yes, this blog,) our regular collaborator and fellow curator, Ginger Rudolph, and Living Walls Atlanta with Adult Swim was hands-down the most read/shared post from Streets Dept this year.

Having grown up in Fishtown, I love that these murals have a home in my home neighborhood. Huge congrats to Nazeer, Branche, and Zeinab. I’m so excited to continue to follow your careers and hope to see more murals from y’all in the future!

See original post here.

See an Instagram video about Nazeer Sabree’s mural here.

See an Instagram video about Branche Coverdale’s mural here.

See an Instagram video about Zeinab Diomande’s mural here.

See past year’s lists here:

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lisa Hagen permalink
    December 30, 2022 10:12 pm

    I love seeing Get Ups art all through our city!Glad to see he got a nice ranking here,WELL DESERVED!

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