‘Mural Miles’ combines running and art to spark a movement

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Today was a big step forward for a running group with an artistic twist. The non-profit organization Mural Miles unveiled its first-ever public artwork.

“There are so many murals in Philadelphia. We walk past them all the time,” said founder Craig Oppenheimer. “We don’t really stop knowing who the artist was and the backstory behind it.”

Oppenheimer and a small group of friends decided to change that in March 2021. They routinely created running routes using murals as a street map.

“Every month we do a group walk to different murals in Philadelphia,” he said. “We stop informing ourselves about art. We also work with brands or organizations to create new public artworks.”

Her first mural is titled “Equilibrium” and was created by artist Eric Okdeh. It was funded by members of Mural Miles as well as Lily Development, a real estate company that lent their building’s exterior to the artwork. It is located at 638 Christian St. in South Philadelphia.

The play features two local runners, Aaron Leon Nixon and Valentina Viana, striding alongside birds and a dog.

“Running pretty much saved my life from wanting to commit suicide at a point in my life where I was struggling with my sexual identity,” said Aaron Leon Nixon.

Leon Nixon hopes many passers-by will be inspired by the image of him putting one foot in front of the other.

“If they see my photo, they’re welcome to hear my story,” he said. “And know that even if there’s a cloud hanging over you today, there’s always sunshine across the street.”

Mural Miles hopes this will be the first of many murals they will be installing to promote running and the arts in Philadelphia.

To learn more or join their next run, visit their website.

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Alley Einstein

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