Mural coming in 2024

The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) and Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP) are proud to announce plans for commissioning a large mural for the Horwitz-Wasserman Memorial Plaza on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Project Background

Philadelphia is home to the oldest public Holocaust monument in the United States. Commissioned in the 1950s by Holocaust survivors and other Jewish community members, the Monument was erected at the head of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1964, at the intersection of 16th and Arch streets. The site around the Monument was redesigned in 2018 to increase public engagement and education. Several new educational installations and artifacts were added to the site and today the Memorial Plaza welcomes over 10,000 visitors each year.

We are now embarking on a roughly 18-month journey to further activate the Memorial Plaza with a new artwork that will be installed on the wall of the Verizon building at the north end of the Plaza – serving as a backdrop for the entire site and complementing the original Monument and interpretive features. Once completed, it will be the nation’s first large scale, publicly commissioned mural dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education in a public park.

Why Now?

We are now more than 70 years removed from the tragedies of the Holocaust, and the general public is losing a connection to this history. This is evident both in how little most people know about the Holocaust and how rapidly antisemitism is rising in our nation.

Simultaneously, we are at a pivotal time when the community of Holocaust Survivors can no longer lead the work of educating future generations. How do we make sure that the universal lessons of the Holocaust do not disappear from our public conscience? How can we bring the public together to fight antisemitism and bigotry with a renewed commitment and energy?

Why Here?

Just a few generations ago, the Survivor community from the Philadelphia area commissioned the Six Million Jewish Martyrs Monument to preserve the memory of those who did not survive. The Monument was intentionally situated along Philadelphia’s major civic and cultural corridor, serving as a powerful and permanent visual reminder of the past. Fifty years later, the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation redesigned the Memorial to advance its purpose through the addition of a contemplative landscape and educational features.

The new artwork will align with the Memorial Plaza’s strong message of resilience, hope and tolerance. It will further activate the site with visual storytelling that extends the way people can engage with the space, building on both the landmark Monument and the site’s other educational features. Finally, the artwork will bring visual closure, completeness and depth by occupying the wall that provides a visual backdrop for the space.

Process & Expected Timeline

  • PHRF and MAP assembled a Steering Committee to identify project goals, draft the RFQ, interview finalists, make a recommendation on the final artist, and oversee the design process. The Committee brings together expertise in Holocaust education, architecture and landscape design, public art and curation, real estate, urban planning, public humanities, and museum education.
  • The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is open to artists interested in the project through a two-step application process. Applying artists are asked to first submit a letter of interest about their connection to the project by June 30, 2023. Qualified artists will then be invited to submit a CV and relevant work from their portfolio.
  • The Steering Committee will interview a short list of artists, then recommend a final selection to PHRF’s board and MAP in September 2023.
  • During the Fall of 2023 the artist will engage with the broader community to inform the artwork’s content and design. PHRF and MAP will organize several town hall meetings with the artist to ensure opportunity for community questions and feedback. Based on these discussions and the artist’s own research, the artist will begin designing the artwork in the Winter of 2024.
  • The designs will be reviewed by the Steering Committee, Mural Arts and other constituents.  Design revisions are expected to be completed in Spring 2024.
  • During the Summer of 2024 the artwork will be installed with multiple opportunities for community painting events.
  • The artwork is expected to be dedicated in a public ceremony in the Fall of 2024.

As a prelude to commissioning a new mural at the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza, the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia hosted a conversation about memorials and the Holocaust between WHYY’s Marty Moss-Coane and scholar James Young on May 2, 2023 at Friends Select School. Many thanks to WHYY, the Friends Select School, and Creative Outfit for partnering on this event. Watch the recording here:


What will the mural be about?

Instead of telling interested artists what the artwork should be exactly about, we have created a thoughtful process that welcomes creative ideas from the artists, subject matter experts, and the broader public. We recognize the sensitive and complex nature of the topic and so we have allotted dedicated time for the artist to engage with the stakeholders and conduct independent research. For more information on our project goals, please see the RFQ.

How will the mural complement the Monument and other educational features at the Memorial Plaza?

The Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs is the centerpiece of the Horwitz Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza. As the first monument to Jewish victims in the country, the Monument will remain the focal point of the site. The artwork will create a unique opportunity to build on what already exists and create a new way for people to engage with the space. With its additional visual storytelling, the artwork will also draw visitors into the space. The artwork will provide a backdrop for the Plaza and all of its features.

How do I get involved?

We are glad you want to get involved with the mural project! There are several ways to get involved:

  • Community Input: Once the artist is selected, there will be several opportunities for the broader community to engage in the discussions that lead to the design. Please ensure that you are signed up for our Newsletter so you can stay up to date.
  • Community Programs: opportunities for hands-on participation and reflection.
  • Artwork Support: Interested donors are encouraged to review our donor opportunities and get in touch with Eszter Kutas at

I am an artist- am I eligible to apply?

We are open to hearing from any artist who meets the qualifications outlined in the RFQ.

  • The artist should have a family, community or cultural connection to the Holocaust.
  • The artist must be highly accomplished in creating two-dimensional public art, primarily murals or other types of two-dimensional work that is suitable for translation into a mural, potentially incorporating tile, mosaic or light relief.
  • The artist should have a deep sensitivity to this topic and to the challenge of bringing this history into a new context.
  • The artist must have experience working with stakeholder groups around a topic that has deep significance, complexity and emotional intensity; and working in the context of a civic space.

The application process and requirements are published in our RFQ.

How does the artist and the final design get selected?

The Steering Committee will identify a short list of artists, conduct interviews, and make a recommendation on the final artist to PHRF’s board and MAP.

The artist will be responsible for creating the design. The design process will be informed by stakeholder meetings where the broader community will be able to share their input, as well as any additional research and engagement the artist would like to conduct. The design will be reviewed by the Steering Committee and approved by PHRF’s board, MAP and relevant public agencies. We hope our partners, supporters, and interested members of the public participate in these meetings to have their voices heard.

Questions? Please email us at

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