Where to Explore Latino Art in Philadelphia
A guide to the murals, attractions and galleries showcasing works by Latino artists...
From ancient Mayan artifacts to contemporary crafts and paintings, Latino art thrives in Philadelphia.
Outdoors, a number of the city’s thousands of murals feature inspiring Latino artists and themes. Indoors, Latino galleries and studios have an impact far beyond the art on their walls. Taller Puertorriqueño in El Centro de Oro’s El Corazόn Cultural Center serves as a community center and event space for symposia, readings, film screenings, artist workshops and more. And the new Walls for Justice hub on Cherry Street Pier organizes community volunteers to paint murals highlighting social issues.
Want a Day of the Dead figurine? Eyes Gallery offers just the thing. Or perhaps you’d like to support local Latino artists directly? Check out the community art gallery at HACE, located on the El Centro de Oro commercial corridor.
Here’s a look at where to explore, support and buy Latino art in Philadelphia.
Among the 4,000-plus murals maintained by Mural Arts Philadelphia , a number feature Latino artists and themes. A self-guided tour of Latino murals should include the following:
- Sanctuary City, Sanctuary Neighborhood , by Betsy Casanas and Ian Pierce in North Philadelphia, highlighting the strength and resilience of immigrant communities
- North Philadelphia’s The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century (also known as the Pope Francis mural) by Cesar Viveros
- South Philadelphia’s Aqui y Alla , exploring the impact of immigration on Mexican youth, by Michelle Angela Ortiz
- Fairhill’s Latinx Heroes , artist Danny Torres’ painting honoring Latin Fiesta Pioneer Awardees
- Hunting Park Avenue’s Sembrando Sueños, Cosechando Esperanzas by Patricia Barrera and students from Esperanza Academy Charter School
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The onsite gallery at Taller Puertorriqueño in El Centro de Oro’s El Corazόn Cultural Center shows Latin American and Caribbean art, with a permanent collection of works by Carlos Pascual, Daniel de Jesus, Marta Sanchez, Antonio Martorell and Ralfka González. Rotating special exhibits encourage repeat visits, while the Julia de Burgos Gift Shop offers books, art, merch and more, both on-site and online.
Along South Street, Eyes Gallery (see below) sibling Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a stop-you-in-your-tracks, walk-in mosaic of Mexican sculptures, tiles and mirrors. Longtime Philadelphia artist Isaiah Zagar created the Instagram-worthy attraction, which spans two galleries and an outdoor space. Bonus: Enthralled visitors can bring home their own Zagar mosaic courtesy of the site’s store .
Artist and Philadelphia native Miguel Antonio Horn is the mastermind behind this monumental piece of public art , which turned a nondescript Philadelphia alley (Cuthbert Street, off of 12th Street) near Reading Terminal Market into a thought-provoking meeting spot when it was installed in September 2021. The sculpture consists of eight gigantic figures — four on each side — clustered around a bridge that spans the alley. Its title, ContraFuerte , or counterforce, plays on the idea of pushing and pulling, striving for balance and, ultimately, collective action against a greater force.
At the Penn Museum in University City, the Central American & Mexican Gallery features ancient Mayan stone monuments from Piedras Negras in Guatemala and Caracol in Belize, and Mayan hieroglyphic writing, painted pottery, figurines and jade carvings. The museum’s store offers everything from hand painted and carved vases from Nicaragua to chocolates from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Paintings by influential artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo and more are on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art . Plus, you can buy prints of their works at the museum’s expansive gift shop, along with jewelry and crafts like Sibilia earrings, handmade in Argentina.
Artist Samuel Rodriguez founded this group during the civil unrest of summer 2020 to paint unifying, positive messages over plywood-covered storefronts. Today, the nonprofit continues its work on community engagement, and murals in public spaces, schools, museums, and businesses. The group’s studio at Cherry Street Pier hosts workshops and events, and offers art and merch for sale.
Founded by Esperanza — an organization dedicated to education and community economic development in North Philadelphia — the Esperanza Arts Center prides itself on being the heart of Latino performing arts in the city. The space in Hunting Park regularly hosts music, dance and theater performances, thought-provoking film screenings and speaker series, and family-friendly community events that spotlight cultural traditions from around the world.
Founded by artists Isaiah and Julia Zagar in 1968, the Eyes Gallery specializes in Latin American crafts, textiles and exotic jewelry from Mexico, Peru, Haiti and elsewhere in South America and the Caribbean. From colorful Day of the Dead figurines and dolls to pottery from celebrated artist Josefina Aguilar, the Eyes Gallery offers three floors of hand-picked fair-trade items from around the globe.
Open since 1898, the Fleisher Art Memorial is one of the oldest nonprofit community art schools in the United States. Offering a slew of affordable art classes and educational opportunities, in addition to exhibitions (including the upcoming Diálogo 365: New Rhizomes featuring Latino, Latin American and Caribbean visual artists), shows and events, the institution operates under a mission to “make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.” One event not to miss each fall: the annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration , which in the past has featured a procession, an ofrenda (altar), live performances, food and a craft fair.
A vivid collection of global folk and contemporary art decorates the showroom at Indigo Arts , featuring international folk and contemporary art from Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil and more. One gallery spotlights Cuban self-taught and trained artists, including Osvaldo Castillo, Fito (Adolfo Flores Gonzalez), Arnaldo Garcia Rodriguez and Luis Joaquin Rodriguez Arias, among others. Note that the gallery is only open by appointment.
At the geographical start of El Centro de Oro, HACE provides visitors with information about cultural activities, events and businesses in the neighborhood. The center also houses La Galeria Art Gallery, showcasing the work of local artists.