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Anything can be turned into public art — even trash cans.

That’s what Philly’s artists believe. And if you’ve seen a new image or two plastered on a bin, then you’ve stumbled across the #trashcantakeover initiative.

 The movement began, like many do, with outright anger. Conrad Brenner of the Street Dept blog wrote a post in June blasting the city for the ads that seemed to dominate almost every trash can ad space in Center City: Gary Barbera Autoland hawking its “Cheap Jeeps.” To Brenner, they cheapened Philly’s public spaces.

 But on Aug. 19, he took to his blog to announce an intervention: Philly artists would be replacing the ads with their uplifting and socially minded work.

Trashcan Takeover 2

Art by Santiago Galeas / Photo courtesy of Street Dept 

 “What can happen when we replace ads with art?” he asked in the post. “When we use our public spaces to center less on consumerism and more on the human experience? I think these are questions worth asking.”

 According to Benner, the idea itself for the project belongs to Brendan Lowry (of popular Peopledelphia instagram account) and is being funded by City Fitness. It will be up through September 18.

 Take a self-guided tour of the work with this map or check out photos of all the work here!

Featured image: Art by Marisa Velázquez-Rivas Photo courtesy of Street Dept 

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Brianna is a Philly-based journalist and Baltimore native with a passion for reporting on urban sustainability and environmental justice. In her free time, she's an amateur vegetarian chef, Harry Potter trivia champion and occasional world traveler. View all posts by Brianna Baker

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