The Schuylkill River in Manayunk and East Falls has long attracted artists and craftspeople. The beauty of the river coupled with a thriving community, have long been an inspiration. In addition to the many artists’ studios and galleries located here, one can often see artists sketching and painting along the River. Arts Festivals held annually in both communities provide a place for artists to share their work with the public.

Fishprinting at East Falls Arts by the River, held every October.

Arts by the River, takes place each October in East Falls.

The contrast of the physical and natural environments have longed attracted artists to Manayunk and East Falls.

The Manayunk Arts Festival comes to Main Street in June.

The Manayunk Arts Festival takes place along Main Street, Manayunk

Public art also plays a part in creating a vibrant landscape alongside the River and the built environment. Murals and sculpture reflect the areas’ history and culture while celebrating the natural environment of the river.

A Network Arts mosaic mural in Manayunk depicts native animals.

The Twin Bridges Public Art project

The need for this project became more obvious as plans to build the parking lot under the Twin Bridges developed. It was apparent upon closer examination that the Sports Murals had become aged and were deteriorating. Coincidentally, the Mural Arts Program (MAP), which originally had commissioned the Sports Murals, had become concerned about the condition of the murals and sought to improve the look of them. When the notion was presented at a meeting of the EFCC, community members supported pursuing a public arts project there. The EFCC’s Zoning and Land Use Committee then endorsed the EFDC’s structure of having a committee to review specific design ideas. This committee was open to volunteers. We worked with the MAP to solicit artists. The artists’ work was then displayed for the public to get input. The committee took that input and selected the artists. They are now working with the artists as the design is refined.