The Roots Mural Project

About The Project


Amber Art & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Completion Date

15 December 2012


Broad and South Streets

Legendary: by Amber Art & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Photo by Steve Weinik

Mural Arts latest mural project honors the homegrown hip hop trailblazers, cultural icons, and GRAMMY® Award winners, The Roots. From founders Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson’s humble beginnings at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), to their staggering thirteen recorded albums, to an endless overseas touring schedule, and their current position as house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC, The Roots have influenced generations of artists locally, nationally, and globally.

As we continue to redefine muralism in the 21st century, this mural project promises to be our most ambitious and far-reaching yet. Multimedia elements such as video, online interaction, on-site activation, with city-wide engagement through paint days, pop up studios, a strong curriculum for a youth arts component called “Roots 101”, and much more will be incorporated into this project.

The mural is located at 512 S. Broad Street, on the World Communications Charter School, not far from CAPA, where The Roots were founded. 

After a national open call for artists, Mural Arts selected a group of Philadelphia muralists to create The Roots Mural Project.  The artistic team, known as Amber Art and Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, includes artists lead artist, Ernel Martinez, Charles Barbin, Willis Humphrey, and Keir Johnston.

“The first meeting with the artists was amazing; we shared ideas of what the final mural could end up looking like. It’s beyond anything Tariq and I ever dreamed of,” said ?uestlove. “And to have it along South Street, near the same corners we were kicked off of for playing our music is fantastic.”

The Roots Mural Project will be the latest addition to the Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection, a curated collection of Mural Arts Program murals throughout the city that uniquely capture the rich African American experience in Philadelphia. The Collection, narrated by ?uestlove, provides in-depth, engaging information about the murals’ themes and surrounding communities.

Working alongside Sports & Entertainment Financial Group, LLC (SEFG) and other arts and culture partners, Mural Arts will produce a larger-than-life mural to showcase the breadth of The Roots’ musical accomplishments and their place in the pantheon of Philadelphia’s rich musical history.

Programming Partners: Little Giant Media, magazine

Events Funder: Heineken

Curriculum Guide

Roots 101: Art & Writing Activities