Mural Arts launches creative way to help stores practice social distancing

Space Pad design by Dora Cuenca

By now, we all know the drill—keep a safe distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, and most importantly don’t leave the house unless necessary. But reminders of these vital practices helping to keep us safe are always helpful—especially if they are created by Mural Arts Philadelphia. 

The public art organization has always prided itself on creating change through art, and with their latest project, Space Pads, Mural Arts is striving to do the same during this precarious time. 

The Mural Arts Space Pads project, which launched earlier this month on April 3, provides grocery stores throughout Philadelphia with vinyl Space Pads encouraging proper spacing for customers who are waiting in check-out lines. Per CDC recommendations, people must be at least six feet apart, and with these eye-catching creations, Mural Arts has made it that much easier to keep these practices in tact in a visually appealing way. 


According to the release, each Space Pad is designed by a Mural Arts artist and will combine beautifully-designed imagery or text with helpful public health facts related to COVID-19 and/or a message of hope. The five Mural Arts artists who worked on crafting the project’s unique decals include Felix St. Fort, Dora Cuenca, Shira Walinsky and Adam Crawford with the initial designs originally coming from St. Fort and Cuenca. The designs range from instructional points like proper ways to wash your hands, to more broad yet important messages such as just being kind to one another. 

The Space Pads are provided and delivered to grocery stores for free, and includes installation materials and instructions to help implement the safety measures. Each vinyl pad (which are each fabricated by Sign & Design in Holland, PA) is approximately 14” x 14” in size and they come in quantities of 20. 

 “When one of our project managers, Kate Jacobi, suggested the idea, we knew that Mural Arts should jump at the chance to be involved. We know that art can help magnify public health messaging, in addition to beautifying unusual places when we need it most,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. 


The first store in the City of Brotherly Love to install the new Space Pads was the ShopRite of Whitman Plaza at 330 West Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia. Owned by the Colligas family, the storefront has continued to be longtime supporters of Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Being the nation’s largest public art program for over three decades, the impact of Mural Arts Philadelphia has been salient in the city. Everywhere you turn, there are unique murals gracing the walls and sides of a significant amount of buildings, which has also resulted in Philly becoming unofficially known as the mural capital of the world. With this new project, Mural Arts hopes to still have a noteworthy impact and further inspire change, but now with the added necessity of also helping to save lives. Any effort, however large or small, is precious in this plight against COVID-19. 


Mural Arts has also joined in with other organizations to implement a fun virtual experience to help entertain Philadelphians while social distancing, ‘Homeschool with Mural Arts.’ Every Monday and Wednesday at 1 p.m., the online program will feature 10-30-minute videos across their social media channels for arts-focused tutorials from local experts. All ages are welcome to check out the creatively stimulating videos. 

 If grocery stores or small markets wish to receive the Space Pads, they can reach out to Mural Arts Philadelphia at To find out more information on Mural Arts Philadelphia and to check out more info on their virtual ‘Homeschool with Mural Arts’ activities, visit

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