Cities of Detroit and Philadelphia partner to host National Street Art Summit Event to be held in conjunction with nationally renowned BlkOutWalls Festival


Detroit and Philadelphia, cities named by USA Today and a panel of judges as the Top Ten Cities in America with beautiful street art, are partnering to host a National Street Art Summit in Detroit on September 8, 2023.

The summit, which is being held in conjunction with the nationally renowned BLKOUT Walls mural festival, will bring arts leaders from the Top Ten cities in 2022 and 2023 to have a conversation about the rising mural movement in America, what cities are doing to encourage mural art, what cities can learn from each other and what ideas can be exchanged to make life easier for the artists. Philadelphia is No. 1 and Detroit is No. 5 on the 2023 list.

The Summit is slated for 3 p.m. Friday, September 8 at the Wayne County Community College District’s Curtis L. Ivery Downtown Campus, 1001 West Fort Street. WCCCD, a partner on the summit, will host an entrepreneurial workshop for students and emerging artists the day before the summit. Top Ten Cities guests will take a mural tour of Detroit street art the day after the summit.

“Murals, as an art form, are not just being accepted, but are being celebrated in America,” said Rochelle Riley, Detroit’s director of Arts and Culture. “We are thrilled to partner with Mural Arts Philadelphia to continue to make the creative arts a part of any conversation about what is making cities better and more beautiful.”

Jane Golden of Mural Arts Philadelphia, agreed.

"Public art is a powerful medium that can transform urban spaces and fuel social change," said Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. "This partnership between Detroit and Philadelphia emphasizes the vital role that creativity plays in our cities, while opening up new opportunities for muralists nationwide. Together, we're pushing forward the conversation on mural art and its potential to beautify, inspire, and empower communities."

The conversation will occur on the eve of BLKOUT Walls, the national festival conceived by celebrated artists Sydney James of Detroit, Thomas “Detour” Evans of Denver and Max Sansing of Chicago in response to their shared history of participating in mural festivals with no remuneration for participating artists and with limited racial diversity. The trio kicked off the brand in Detroit in 2021. 

Detroit has undertaken a citywide effort to bring beautiful murals to neighborhoods across the city, all part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Blight to Beauty campaign. The campaign involves multiple city departments, including the Planning and Development Department, the Department of Public Works and City Walls, a division of the General Services Department’s anti-blight unit, which paints over hundreds of thousands of yards of graffiti across the city and replaces some of the blank spaces with beautiful murals.

The City is documenting every map in the city on the Detroit Mural Map, which was launched in 2022 and is connected to an app that lets users identify murals on site. More than 500 murals live on the site now. The map can be found at


About Detroit ACE The Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) oversees the City’s investments in arts, culture and history. It develops opportunities for residents to experience art in s across the city and works to support one of the nation’s greatest creative workforces. It partners potential funders with groups elevating fine and performing art; celebrates fine and performing artists with the Detroit ACE Honors, which awards medals to artists who have given 25 years or more of service to the arts; is home to the first official City Historian; and is currently transforming nine alleys across the city into cultural gathering spaces featuring art and music. For more information, visit Detroit ACE at and follow ACE on social media: @detroitcityarts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About Mural Arts Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 35 years, Mural Arts have united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to mutual understanding through projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public arts preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts' iconic and unparalleled collection, earning Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the "Mural Capital of the World." For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit Follow Mural Arts on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and InstagramMuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook and phillymuralartson YouTube.