December 7, 2023 (Philadelphia) – Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public arts program, alongside the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Phillies, today announced and unveiled the design of a new mural coming soon to 2221 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. Designed by renowned artist Ernel Martinez, the new mural will pay tribute to Phillies great Richard “Dick” Allen, a seven-time All-Star, who spent nine of his 15 major league seasons (1963-77) with the Phillies and won National League Rookie of the Year in 1964. The future mural at roughly 2,000 sq. ft. will be located in close proximity to the Phillies’ home at Citizens Bank Park, and formally dedicated at a community celebration in late Spring 2024.
“Murals and public art shape the city of Philadelphia in so many ways - as do our beloved sports teams,” said City of Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney. “We have a reputation of having the most passionate sports fans in the world - as well as being known as the Mural Capital of the World. This is a homerun for the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, and we are thrilled to follow along this mural journey.”
“Today's announcement is a tremendous way to honor the legacy of Dick Allen,” said John Middleton, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Philadelphia Phillies. “The Phillies are so thankful to the City and Mural Arts Philadelphia for their dedication to this project. Dick would be so incredibly proud to know that his contributions to Phillies history will now live on for years to come in South Philadelphia.”
"Through the creation of over 4,000 works of public art, Mural Arts has seen the impact that art has on communities. Our murals, including those that honor legends like Dick Allen, resonate deeply, telling stories that extend far beyond their visual representations," stated Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. "The exceptional talent of artist Ernel Martinez has allowed us to capture and commemorate Dick's remarkable skills, achievements, and his profound impact on this city, our communities, and baseball enthusiasts around the world."
“Although I’ve done several murals, featuring athletes or sports teams, doing this mural celebrating the life and legacy of the Dick Allen means something special to me and the city of Philadelphia,” said artist Ernel Martinez. “Not only was he outstanding on the field, but also with the community and the Phillies organization as a whole. Mr. Allen was a role model to many, so I’m humbled and honored to have the responsibility of creating a public artwork highlighting this Philadelphia legend.”
During his time with the Philadelphia Phillies, Allen batted .290 with 204 doubles, 204 home runs, 655 RBI, a .371 on-base percentage and a .530 slugging percentage (.902 OPS) in 1,070 games. His slugging percentage is second-best in Phillies history, behind only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (.553), and he ranks 10th in home runs. Allen, whose No. 15 has been retired by the club, became one of the all-time greats in Phillies history after being signed by the team in 1960 to his first professional contract. He joined the Phillies front office in 1994 as a fan development representative and, later, a club ambassador.
On the third anniversary of Allen’s passing (December 7, 2020), Allen’s son Richard Allen, Jr. and Eron “Button” Allen and widow Willa Allen joined Mayor Kenney, City Representative Sheila Hess, Jane Golden, and the Phillie Phanatic for a celebration to unveil the mural’s design with the community.
“On behalf of the entire Allen family, I would like to thank Mural Arts, The City of Philadelphia and the Phillies for helping keep my father’s legacy alive in Philadelphia,” said Richard Allen, Jr. “I know he would be both humbled and grateful for this wonderful mural. My father was extremely proud to be a part of the Phillies organization for many years. It brings our entire family great pleasure to see him honored in this manner.”
The Allen family and special guests also joined Martinez to paint the first brush strokes on the mural. Known for many murals depicting Philadelphia heroes including Heart of a Champion: A Tribute to Smokin’ Joe Frasier; Why We Love Coltrane; 76ers: Beyond the Court; and Ed Bradley: Curious, Relentless, Tireless, Martinez shared his design depicting multiple images of Allen, including at bat and running the bases in a Philadelphia Phillies pinstripe uniform, as well as being inducted in the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame. Using best practices from Mural Arts, the mural will be painted on parachute cloth during the winter months and through the spring with the help of the community, and later adhered to its permanent home located at 2221 South Broad Street in Philadelphia in spring 2024.
For more information about the Richard “Dick” Allen mural and to follow along the mural process, please visit: muralarts.org