Philadelphians can take their artful eye all around NoLibs this summer

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With Philadelphia known as the ‘Mural Capital of the World’, it only makes sense to set an event around the cultural and artistic characteristics of the city. 

Northern Liberties Mural Hunt: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Street Art will debut on Friday, May 28 and run through Monday, July 5, and everyone is able to participate in this all-new artful excursion. 

“We invite neighbors and visitors to come out and explore Northern Liberties this summer,” said NLBID Executive Director Kris Kennedy in a statement. “As we all head back out into the world and figure out what the new normal looks like, we wanted to showcase our neighborhood through programming that was fun, relaxing and no pressure. We designed this to help people ease the transition of staying at home and learning to get back out again.

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“The idea was inspired by our Artists at Work art crawl held on Second Saturdays. They were such a hit we wanted to celebrate Northern Liberties’ artistic roots and get people moving through the neighborhood again. It is a win-win with hours of free summer enjoyment, plus you can win some pretty cool prizes from our restaurants, retail shops and local attractions. Come as you are, bring the family, make it a date night or organize a group. It is a win-win for the neighborhood, for our local businesses, and for those looking to get out of the house.”

How can you get started? It’s fairly simple. 

According to the release, participants in the scavenger hunt can participate by downloading the free Let’s Roam app from Google Play or the Apple store, then locate the mural hunt on the app’s regional map. Once activated, participants can go at their own pace to find 20+ pieces of street art and murals, while learning about the art pieces’ history and significance. Participants are then asked to complete fun challenges—such as taking a selfie with street art and answering trivia to rack up points— and enter to win weekly prizes. One lucky winner on July 5 will win the drawing for the grand prize, a bowling party for four at North Bowl. 

Northern Liberties BID has also come out with some tips for first time scavenger hunters: Huddle up with other players to figure out your game plan and teams if you wish to split up; unlock the Roam app select “Join A Hunt” on the lower right corner of the home screen, and enter their private voucher code: NLiberties. Once you do, you choose a team leader and then enter a team name. Each person will click on the team name to enter the hunt. Alternatively, teammates can select “Custom Events & Team Building” and enter the team’s join code (provided by the team leader). You can play-test the hunt by naming the team Testers, so the results do not show up on the leaderboard until everyone is comfortable using the app. Once it’s complete however, there will be a link to submit your final results. 

In all, there are about 20 pieces of art around the Northern Liberties neighborhood to check out. Most are from notable artists including Paul Santoleri, Frank Hyder and Dennis Haugh,with others spanning images of famous Philadelphians such as Edgar Allan Poe, Ben Franklin and Gritty. However, there is one piece of art that most NoLibs residents see daily: BeBot. The massive creation located at the East side of the Piazza is one of Philadelphia’s largest and most memorable pieces of public art and was created by London-based artist Andrea Greenlees. The wireframe sculpture is 33 feet tall and weighs 13,000 pounds. The artwork is the heart of the neighborhood, with a literal giant copper heart at its core. 

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Philadelphians will be making their way to a few surprising spots as well, as the hunt also encompasses bonus art pieces inside businesses, such as Madison K Cookies, Anejo Philadelphia, SET NoLibs, El Camino and North 3rd.

“Northern Liberties has a long history as one of Philly’s most creative districts. Now, in current times, we are left with a growing wealth of artistic riches that are perfect for a summer of exploration. During the pandemic, we saw a big increase in walking traffic exploring these brilliant, colorful and creative murals on our Northern Liberties streets. We wanted to continue that energy and foster continued interest in our creative culture,” continued Kennedy.

According to the release, for prizes, NLBID and neighborhood businesses are offering a bonus to add to the excitement. Players will compete for weekly prizes and a grand prize at the end of the program. Every Monday, one winner will be selected who completed the hunt and has the highest score for the week. At the end of the hunt on July 5, one grand prize winner will win a bowling party for four to the recently reopened North Bowl. The grand prize winner will be selected from those who finished the challenge and had the single highest score for the entire season.

For more about Northern Liberties Business Improvement District and the Northern Liberties Mural Hunt, visit explorenorthernliberties.org

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