Modern-day love letters

The murals that span 50 rooftops in West Philadelphia get a whole weekend of love. The Mural Arts Program offers three events in celebration of Valentine’s Day from Feb. 12 to 15.

The murals that span 50 rooftops in West Philadelphia get a whole weekend of love. The Mural Arts Program offers three events in celebration of Valentine’s Day from Feb. 12 to 15.

TTN File Photo Each Love Letter in Steve Power’s project is stylized like a text message or love note – contemporary, current and cutting-edge.

Love letters, Valentines and text messages all have one thing in common: They’re tangible and can be saved to enjoy later.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, renowned artist Steve Powers and the city’s Mural Arts Program have created a weekend event out of their mural project, Love Letter.

Remember saving the “Be mine” valentine for the person you liked in grade school? Similarly, Love Letter is a modern-day love letter, spanning 50 rooftops and walls from 46th to 63rd streets in West Philadelphia, and can be seen just outside the windows of the Market-Frankford El.

Opening Reception
Friday, Feb. 12,
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
1226 Chestnut St.
Price: Free

To kick off the event, MAP set up an exhibit that will display sketches and drawings associated with Love Letter. Additionally, the exhibit features some of Powers’ original artwork. For those who can’t make it Friday, the exhibition will be on display through Feb. 28.

Love Letter Public Tour
Saturday, Feb. 13,
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
16th St. and JFK Blvd.
Price: $17

Join fellow Philadelphians on a guided El-train tour of the project, during which you’ll learn all about the making of Love Letter and how the city-wide exhibition came to be. The tour departs from the Fairmount Park Visitor Center in LOVE Park, and the cost includes the price of a SEPTA token. Can’t make it Valentine’s Day weekend? Don’t worry – the tour will run every Saturday starting Feb. 13, at the same time and place.

Love Train and Reception
Sunday, Feb. 14, 3 p.m.
6th St. and JFK Blvd.
Price: $40 per person,
$75 per couple

This tour of Love Letter runs on a festively decorated, exclusive El train that runs only at five miles per hour for better viewing. Commentary will be provided by a special guest. Following the afternoon tour will be a private reception at SEPTA’s grand mezzanine, complete with hors d’oeuvres and champagne. This tour departs from LOVE Park, but both Saturday and Sunday tours require reservations.

While the tours may be a little steep for the average college student’s budget, this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along often. Not only does the tour start in LOVE Park – which, by name, is already romantic – but it allows attendees to go out and experience what unique exhibitions Philadelphia’s art scene has to offer.

Powers, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, has gained international fame as a muralist and artist. He said he created Love Letter because it is a story many people can relate to.

The elevated train serves as a great medium through which Powers can express his work because it can force people to connect and literally move in the same direction. On that train ride, they are experiencing the same ride, looking at the same buildings and, since the installation of Love Letters, passing the same murals. No matter how isolated riders may be in their own worlds, they can be connected by the art they’re viewing.

“[It is a] love letter meant for one but with meaning for all,” Powers said. But don’t take his word for it. See it yourself; all it takes is a SEPTA token.

Matthew Flocco can be reached at

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