Philadelphia. The city known for Rocky, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels…and murals. Currently, more than 3,600 stunning murals now adorn walls and buildings throughout the city.
These colorful works of art have become a bona fide attraction, so Mural Arts Philadelphia asked Brownstein Group to create an app that would let people access the magic of these murals with just their phone and their feet. The result is a highly intuitive experience that lets users select customized tours based on their location. They can also search and explore murals based on mural name or specific artist. As an added feature, the app provides specific details about the mural and its artist. Now, thanks to technological wizardry, art appreciation has become a hands-on experience.
Mural Arts Philadelphia has always focused on the big themes: art, community, social change. For their 2013 Wall Ball invitation, we wanted to bring these big picture ideas to life in a way that was interactive and lasting. The result was an invitation designed around the theme of photography: the envelope looked like a camera, and the invitation inside turned into a usable picture frame. We engaged invitees by asking them to go out into their community and take pictures of the murals they found, sharing them with the social media community with a hashtag. Contributing their own photos to Wall Ball made invitees feel part of something bigger, and the frame keepsake let them display their own art and memories at home.
These ideas, when nurtured, can take root in a community and start to thrive. This was the inspiration behind our 2015 Wall Ball invitation theme: planting the seeds of change. We wanted everyone who received an invitation to the fundraiser to feel part of making positive change happen, and to be able to watch a literal transformation take place. The invitation we created featured a plant-inspired infographic with impactful statistics about Mural Arts Philadelphia programming. The transformation was in the paper itself, which came with instructions to fold it into a compostable flowerpot—along with a card made out of seed paper, which could be planted inside the pot and eventually grow into wildflowers.
Mural Arts Philadelphia uses art to transform spaces and inspire continual progress within communities. They wanted to celebrate this constant change with a month of programming and special events built around the theme of “Works of Progress.” It was our job to create a program book that would be a functional calendar of events while also inspiring this idea of positive momentum. So we created a program that doubled as a flipbook, depicting the literal progress of a mural being painted.
Over the last three decades, Mural Arts Philadelphia has transformed our neighborhoods, united our communities and uplifted our people. Philly’s come so far. So for Mural Arts’ 30th anniversary, we invited Philadelphians to see for themselves. We designed an invitation as a call to exploration—a “detour guide” to the places most people might ordinarily pass by. Because if you want to see how far our city has come—you should really take the long way.
When Mural Arts Philadelphia asked us to concept an invitation for the 2012 Wall Ball, we knew the Roots—Philadelphia natives and the event’s guests of honor—could help us share the Mural Arts story with the community. The invitation we created featured tear-out postcards with lyrics from different Roots songs, accompanied by copy that spoke to the Mural Arts mission. So as we shared the message that “art ignites change,” recipients could put that idea into action by sending their postcards throughout the community.
Mural Arts Philadelphia believes art should be for the community, by the community—and we believe its advertising should be, too. Mural Arts fosters art that transforms neighborhoods and citizens. That’s not “messaging”—that’s a mission. So when they asked us to create materials for their Wall Ball event and Mural Arts Month in 2011, we came up with a campaign that brought this mission to the community using active, motivating language and illustrated text.