IA Travels the Mural Mile

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Inspiring the Inspiration Makers: Lured by warm sunshine and the natural light of longer days, as well as creative curiosity, many IA offices during the summer take the opportunity to explore a local venue for inspiration, comradery, and fun. This is the second in a series of posts that share some of those experiences.

IA team members come together for a picture on the Mural Mile.

Self-described by Mural Arts Philadelphia as the world’s “largest art gallery,” the Mural Mile is a source of inspiration for the entire city of Philadelphia, and a natural magnet for our IA team members.  Visited by 15,000 people annually, it’s not hard to see why.

Besides being home to several world-famous works, the Mural Mile also provides artists of Philadelphia with the chance to receive mural training, apprenticeships, or a variety of paid positions as a part of Philadelphia’s well-established art culture. The city-run initiative employs 300 artists annually.

So when IA managing director Kelly Funk heard about the Mural Mile, she knew immediately that her art-loving teammates would value the experience. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore and look for inspiration where others maybe wouldn't typically look" she recalls. It couldn’t have come at a more important time―the team has grown significantly over the past year, and have been extraordinarily busy with work. “We’d been looking for ways to communicate to the team that, while our design work is important, our team’s wellbeing takes priority,” said Matt LoPresto, IA Design Director. “This was a great chance to take a much-needed break, find inspiration in the community, and prioritize physical activity— all at the same time.”

The Mural Mile route map, courtesy of www.muralarts.org

The self-guided walking tour features two different routes⁠—mural mile north or south—along with an assortment of guided options. IA’s team elected to do both of the self-guided tours, stopping mid-way for a team lunch.

As the group walked along the paths, they were careful to discuss the designs and point out personally meaningful pieces. “There was an entire mural dedicated to strong women, for example, and it was fun watching Kelly Funk relate to that mural” recounts Matt LoPresto. “Mike Villegas is a super-talented musician, and he responded to a more off-the-wall, Dali-style mural that had these music-related vignettes– everybody responded to something different, and everyone looked for their own piece to relate to.”

Murals ranged in size and visibility with some virtually taking over city blocks and others hiding among the urban landscape, but the team eventually made it to all 28 murals. “It was very rewarding to see the team come together to be inspired outside our normal creative environment,"said Managing Director Kelly Funk. "I know each of us will return with a renewed purpose and inspiration that we can bring into the built environments we design."


Mural Arts is a program created by the City of Philadelphia that helps to fight for art, and against graffiti. For more information on their programs, or how to support them, visit www.muralarts.org. For a map of Philadelphia’s many murals to help you plan your own mural tour, click here.

Scroll down to see some of the murals spotted by the IA team along their routes.


IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.


cURIOUS aBOUT ia cULTURE?

Here at IA we're pretty proud of our culture. We firmly believe that our biggest asset is our people. Take a look at other blog posts that highlight IA culture, including events, updates on individual offices, and candid conversations with IA leadership.

IA Travels the Mural Mile - via @IAarchitects

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