Our green spaces, parks and trails are special, not only for the open green areas of the community, but also for the artwork interspersed throughout these areas. From the Manayunk Trail, with its great watershed murals and the Manayunk Stoops, through the tracing of our watershed in murals up the Fountain Street Steps, along Hillside Playground on Fountain Street to the Roxborough Pocket Park mural. The Roxborough Mural marks the crest of the hill between the Wissahickon Watershed and the Schuylkill Watershed. Beyond the murals marking our green areas, there are many beautiful murals throughout the extended community.
Manayunk Stoops: Heart and Home
Manayunk Stoops: Heart and Home consists of nine mosaic “stoops” that enhance and interpret the physical and natural environment of the Manayunk Canal Towpath. The artwork includes imagery inspired by the native flora, fauna, and industrial heritage of the Manayunk area.
The stoops, situated in five sites between Lock and Cotton Streets, serve as seating elements along the Canal and are an interpretation of the front steps and entryways that mark the neighborhood’s architecture and street life.
After Hurricane Ida in 2021 left Diane Pieri's "Manayunk Stoops" completely submerged underwater, the artwork needed a thorough, careful scrub. The Association for Public Art sent out Materials Conservation Co., LLC to perform the cleanup: they removed mud, foreign objects, and mildew using a mild detergent. Some of the mosaic tile also sustained some damage from Ida, which will be repaired in spring 2022.
Watch the cleanup video.
Cotton Street Bridge
The most recent mural created by artist Paul Santoleri can be seen on the side of the Cotton Street Bridge. It celebrates the water way, our turtles, fish and native plant material.
Murals at Canal View Park
The two murals along the canal across from the Canal View Park were created by Trish Ingram and Mural Arts Philadelphia. They focus on the history and the resulting culture of Manayunk, based on the Manayunk section of the Schuylkill Canal. The canal provided water power for mills, resulting in Manayunk evolving into an industrial mill town village. The vignettes on both sides of each mural were neighbors who were working in various mills at the time of the mural creation.
Mosaic Murals Adjacent to Canal View Park
Josie Stamm of Network Arts, working with students from the Gesu School, created the two murals as part of Canal View Park. Besides the larger mosaic murals, if you look closely, you will see individual tiles created by the students.
Green Lane Bridge Murals
Working with artist Paul Santoleri and Philadelphia Mural Arts, a fanciful mural with touches of tile was created along the walkway under the bridge and part way up the trail. A whimsical mural also by Paul Santoleri faces the trail from the far side of the canal.
Green Lane Bridge Murals
Another whimsical mural also by Paul Santoleri faces the trail from the far side of the canal.
Along the Trail Before Leverington Avenue
Mosaic mural featuring turtles, fish and watershed by Beth Clevenstine and Steve Garr.
Fountain Street Bridge
Paul Santoleri, Beth Clevenstine and Steve Garr, through Philadelphia Mural Arts, funded by the Philadelphia Water Dept. Large murals, bigger than life, again featuring life in a watershed. The murals start under the bridge and picks up again on the walls along the trail, traveling the length of the site. In addition larger than life fish murals are painted on both sides of the canal under the Fountain Street Bridge.
Fountain Street Steps
Here's where you'll find some of the most enchanting murals in the community. Philadelphia Mural Arts, Philadelphia Water Dept., Paul Santoleri and Beth Clevenstine have created a wonderland of oversize butterflies and water-based animal life that hover over you in bridges cover the walkway and an enchanting mosaic waterfall tumbling down the long set of steps from Umbria Street. All this surrounded by native plant material and basins for capturing storm water.
Past the Fountain Street Steps
Continuing along the trail towards Valley Forge you'll find an expansive mural that celebrates the watershed.
Hillside Playground, Fountain Street Wall
Philadelphia Mural Arts and Philadelphia Water Department continue the story of the watershed and the return of wildlife to this area of the City. Again Paul Santoleri continues the theme of the watershed up the hills of Manayunk.
Roxborough Pocket Park
The crest of two watersheds is shown in the Roxborough Pocket Park. The park, designed by Groundswell Landscape Architects, is designed to capture all water in this area, with a rain garden in the center supplemented by an underwater system to take water off the park area. Not only is there a dynamic exciting park, but Mural Arts, Philadelphia Water Department (which also partnered in the park itself) and Paul Santoleri joined forces again to tell the story of the crest of the hill leading to two watersheds (Wissahickon and Schuylkill) an in a bigger than life style tell the story of water.