Water Dept., Mural Arts to Unveil North Phila. 'Drink More Tap' Mural

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philadelphia water department

For Immediate Release: Sept. 20, 2021

Contact: Brian.Rademaekers@phila.gov | 215.380.9327 

Water Department, Mural Arts Philadelphia to Unveil First of two North Phila. Drink More Tap Murals

Utility partnered with Mural Arts Philadelphia to create tap water-themed murals in communities where buying bottled water is most common.

Philadelphia — The Philadelphia Water Department is revealing the results of a more than two-year collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia aimed at reaching communities where skepticism about tap water is most prevalent. 

Joined by artist Carlos “CALO” Lopez Rosa and residents of two North Philadelphia communities, Mural Arts and the Water Department partnered to bring public art to areas where buying bottled water is most common. 

The murals have a simple theme: drink tap.

The murals are part of the Water Department’s ongoing Drink More Tap outreach campaign, bridging visual and performing arts with facts about the benefits of drinking Philly tap: it’s healthy, sustainable, and affordable. 

In 2019, the Water Department and Mural Arts commissioned Rosa, a locally based, El Salvador-born street artist, to produce pieces of public art at two North Philadelphia recreation centers in neighborhoods where bottled water use at home is most common.  

Members of the media and residents are invited to join the Philadelphia Water Department, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation for the official unveiling of the Penrose Recreation Center Drink More Tap mural, located at 1101 W Susquehanna Ave., on Tuesday, September 21 at 4 p.m. 

A second unveiling event for a sister Drink More Tap mural at Cruz Recreation Center, located 1431 N. 6th St. in the Ludlow-Olde Kensington neighborhood, will take place with artists and members of the community on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. Details to follow. 

The Drink More Tap campaign is inspired by recent water-consumption research conducted by the Water Department with support from the University of Pennsylvania. Surveys found that approximately 40 percent of Philadelphians drink bottled water at home instead of tap. An additional layer shows a correlation between bottled water preferences and poverty in Philadelphia.

"The work we have done here with residents and artists is one example of the many ways we are reaching out to show people that, not only do they have an excellent choice when it comes to Philly tap, but that we care. The benefits of the clean, high quality water we send to every home in the city can be enjoyed by more Philadelphians when we increase access to education and information," says Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman, Esq.  

"Engaging with communities where trust and equity are issues and talking about all we do to ensure their water is of the highest quality, is something that can really help people save money, make healthy choices, and even reduce neighborhood litter from single-use plastic bottles," Commissioner Hayman says. 

The Penrose and Cruz Recreation Center murals were designed through close work with the communities, resulting in portraits of residents drinking tap water woven into each piece. 

"Campaigns like Drink More Tap get to the people more. It’s personal, instead of seeing it in an advertisement,” says Drink More Tap muralist Carlos “CALO” Lopez Rosa. "Once you see people from your rec center drinking water from the fountain, I think that has a better impact than having a huge billboard trying to convince people."

The Drink More Tap public art installations took shape alongside a musical project conveying the same messages about the pros of choosing tap over bottled water and sugary drinks that come in single-use plastic packaging.

Last year, the Drink More Tap creative coalition welcomed local producer AFROTAINO, which showcases global artists, with a focus on Afro, Latinx, and Indigenous musicians. Philadelphia-based musicians, Dendê Macêdo, Sonni Shine, Los Bomberos De la Calle, and Sterlen Barr,  each composed new songs spotlighting Philly tap for the project. 

What: Official unveiling of the Drink More Tap mural at Penrose Recreation Center

When:  September 21, 2021 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Penrose Recreation Center, 1101 W. Susquehanna Ave


  • Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman, Esq. 
  • Mural Arts Executive Directive Jane Golden
  • PPR speaker Deputy Commissioner Orlando Rendon
  • Drink More Tap mural artist Calo Rosa
  • Dendê Macêdo, Drink More Tap featured musician
  • PWD Superhero Water Woman 

Save the Date: On Tuesday, October 5th at 4 p.m., members of the media are invited to attend the official unveiling of the sister Drink More Tap mural at Cruz Recreation Center,  1431 N 6th St.