PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) — Today was a huge step forward for the running group with an artistic twist. Nonprofit Mural Miles has unveiled its first piece of public art.

“There are so many murals in Philadelphia. We walk past them all the time,” said founder Craig Oppenheimer. “We don’t stop to find out who the artist was and the background to it.”

Oppenheimer and a small group of friends decided to change that in March 2021. They created regular running routes using the murals as a road map.

“Every month we go on a group run to different murals around Philadelphia,” he said. “We stop to learn about art. We also collaborate with brands or organizations to create new pieces of public art.”

Their inaugural mural, titled “Equilibrium,” was created by artist Eric Okde. It was funded by members of Mural Miles in addition to Lily Development, a real estate firm that lent the exterior of its building for the artwork. It is located at 638 Christian St. in South Philadelphia.

The clip shows two local runners, Aaron Leon Nixon and Valentina Viana, walking alongside birds and a dog.

“Running pretty much saved my life from wanting to end my life by suicide at a time in my life when I was struggling with my sexual identity,” said Aaron Leon Nixon.

Leon Nixon hopes his image of putting one foot in front of the other will inspire many passers-by.

“If they see my photo, they can hear my story,” he said. “And just know that even though there may be a cloud above you today, it’s always light outside.”

The mural Miles hopes will be the first of many murals they will install to promote running and the arts in Philadelphia.

To learn more or enter the next race, visit their website.

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