Street art is becoming more and more popular around the world, with various artists showcasing incredible talent on city buildings. It’s become a huge hobby of mine to find the best street art when I travel, so I figured I should do it in my hometown, too! Check out this list of all the known Syracuse street art, along with locations and a map to help you find them!
I could not have written this article on my own. I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to the Downtown Committee of Syracuse and Syracuse.com for their articles about public art. In addition, David Haas from Syracuse History was a huge help in tracking down more information about the murals as needed. Lastly, the Syracuse subreddit community was a big help in locating some of the murals I hadn’t known about. It truly takes a village!
Originally published December 19, 2019. Updated August 19, 2019.
Painted by Josh Luke & Meredith Kasabian in 2017
350 West Fayette Street (on the side of The Warehouse)
This mural was created as part of the Connective Corridor initiative by Syracuse University. The mural took a few weeks to sketch and paint in the Art Deco style. It was inspired by the invention of the Smith Premier typewriter in Syracuse and sends a positive message of encouragement to the Syracuse community.
Painted by Ally Walker in 2019
713 East Fayette Street (on the side of XO Taco)
Syracuse’s newest mural! Painted by Ally Walker in late 2019, this colorful mural inspires you to “be yourself – every one else is taken” and “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud”. Love it! The larger-than-life psychedelic giraffe with the main quote can be found on the right side of XO Taco – go at night to get a clear view without a full parking lot! The umbrella makes for a great ‘Instagrammable background‘ on the left side of the building. I need to go back when the weather is better!
401 South Clinton Street (in the alley outside Modern Malt)
This is a simple but fun mural. It’s the perfect backdrop to a fun photoshoot with your friends if you’re waiting for a table at Modern Malt!
Painted by Corky Goss & Chip Miller in 2010
126 North Salina Street (on the side of the bank)
This is my favorite mural in Syracuse because it’s the first thing you see when you’re coming off 81 into downtown. The blue is so striking, it’s hard to miss it! The painting itself reflects downtown Syracuse from the early 1900s.
Originally painted by Andy Matlow in 1980; restored by Kelly Curry in 2013
264 East Onondaga Street (on the side of Catholic Charities)
It took Kelly about two months to restore the mural, plus time negotiating with the city. This mural is another depiction of previous life in Syracuse, and is designed to look like a real building facade.
I have traveled and learned so much from so many people that my art is a reflection of the places I have been, the people I’ve met, the conversations that I have had, the experiences that I have lived… all show up in every stroke of my brush.
About the artist: Kelly is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but grew up in New York – bouncing around to different towns. Now, she spends half her time in New York and half in Nicaragua, where her husband is from. Surprisingly, Kelly did not begin painting until she was 36 years old and had no formal training.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Logo
Designed & painted by CINSYR Creative Group in 2020 The painting replaced the previous mural, painted by Jeff Davies in 1992.
246 W. Willow Street (on the front facade of Dinosaur Barbecue)
The famous dinosaur has gotten a 2020 makeover! CINSYR Creative Group worked with the legendary barbecue company this year to design a new logo. And what better way to celebrate it than a fresh mural on the front of the flagship restaurant?
Back in 2001, Elliott was given free reign to paint whatever he wanted on the side of Dinosaur BBQ. So he spent an afternoon creating this mural, inspired by the casual atmosphere around him. He even included one of the nearby waitresses into the mural. Elliott’s artwork has become synonymous with Dinosaur BBQ – he does work at all of the locations before they open. He even did the signage for the New York State Fair and the horse on the roof of the restaurant.
Making a living doing art is hard, but it drives me to be the best at what I do to stay in demand.
Although he mostly works out of New York City, he is based in Syracuse and you’ll find his artwork in many familiar places. Blue Tusk, Apizza Regionale, Limp Lizard, Doug’s Fish Fry, and Pastabilities are just a few of the places his work can be seen. In partnership with Kathy Maio, his retro-style pop art has also seen the likes of The Ramones, HGTV, the Museum of Design in Atlanta, and PC Magazine. One of most recent accomplishments includes work at Hudson Yards in New York City with Belcampo Meats.
300-block East Water Street (on the side of the Erie Canal Museum)
Another depiction of the older days of the Erie Canal. This mural shows the inner-workings of a “double-ender” building – one that was used for two different purposes. This example shows a building that was operated as both a feed store and a flour store. One side would face the canal while the other faced the street.
South Salina Street, below the Taylor Street bridge
Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass gave speeches in Syracuse multiple times. This mural can be found on the south side of the city along Salina Street – an area known to have a more predominantly African American population. These murals are rays of hope for an end to racism and segregation, which still exist despite years of trying to end it.
About the artist: Stephen is based in the Bronx and has an impressive following on social media. His works can be seen throughout the country – in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore, … – and in major cities around the world, including Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.
300-block East Water Street (on the side of the Erie Canal Museum)
This mural is one of the results of the Connective Corridor campaign with Syracuse University to better connect the campus with downtown. Kelly took about two months to paint it, after almost a year of planning and negotiations. The mules in the mural depict what life was like on the Erie Canal during the 1800s. A visit inside the museum will show you even more!
It quickly became apparent that the mules had been one of the most important parts of the Erie Canal since without them the boats did not move.
You can find more of Kelly’s work throughout New York State in Clayton and Alexandria Bay. She also has murals in several locations in Florida as well as New Orleans, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
This mural was funded by Believe in Syracuse and overseen by Rick from the Gear Factory. Stetz painted the mural in 8 days and literally weathered the storm! His struggled through high winds, rain, snow, and cold to produce this bright shining star of a mural.
The imagery in the mural is all Syracuse-based, from the native owl, to the sky scene [from] a photo I took 3 years prior… to the women in the 3 portraits, Nasrene, a Syracuse local.
This mural is tucked in a little park in the middle of the Village of North Syracuse. It highlights all of the things that make North Syracuse what it is from Sweetheart Corner to the history of the plank road.
Gosh, I love the story behind this mural. It was painted by a Girl Scout in order to get her Gold Award. Fun fact – I was a Girl Scout for several years! That’s how I came to fall in love with camping. She also went to the same high school I did.
About the artist: Shannon wanted a way to give back to the community and its people. She led the group of 10 artists who worked together to make this project become a reality.
The Rose of No Man’s Land
Painted by Jack Rabbit Studios in 2017
457 James Street (on the side of The James Street Parlour)
300 South Warren Street (on the side of M. Lemp Jewelers)
S.Alt City has to be the most unique and interactive of all the Syracuse street art. From a distance, the mural looks like a salt barge (from the good ‘ole days of Syracuse). But, when you get up close you’ll notice hundreds of QR codes actually make up the painting. If you use a QR reader on your phone, you’ll be taken to websites for various Syracuse artistic landmarks, like Syracuse Stage and the Everson Museum. Incredible!
About the artists: Both Snyder and Cheng have architectural backgrounds. Their artwork, like in S.alt City, encourages people to embrace technology and find new ways to learn about the environment around them.
208 North Townsend Street (on the front of Café Kubal HQ)
This mural brightens up the brick building and pays homage to the train era of Syracuse. It blends in so well to the building’s design! If anyone knows who the artist is, please let me know.
Train Station Mural 2
815 Erie Blvd East (on the back of Spectrum)
One of Syracuse’s most iconic murals is also the hardest to photograph. This mural depicts a train station as viewed along the platform, with passengers walking around. Located on the back of the current Spectrum building, it is almost only visible while driving on 690. Sorry, but I didn’t want to get out of my car on the highway to get a photo of this one!
420 East Genesee Street (on the side of Access CNY)
We are Syracuse and we are mighty. That’s exactly the message portrayed in this mural. A bold statement, but a true one.
About the artist: You might recognize Cayo’s work as you can find him at the local art fairs and selling his art at Wildflowers Armory under his business, Black Rabbit Studio. He’s also the talent behind the logo for Recess Coffee.
Did you know that Syracuse (and Central New York in general) were key stops on the Underground Railroad? In fact, nearby Auburn was home to Harriet Tubman, who saved hundreds of lives of freed slaves. Ladd’s mural plays homage to that important piece of Syracuse’s history.
Westcott Street Mural 1
Painted by Michael Moody in 1997
Westcott Street & South Beech Street
This mural has caused quite some controversy in recent times. In late 2018, the yogurt shop that took ownership of the building placed an exhaust fan through the face of a woman in the mural. After public outcry in the community, local Syracuse Mural Program 315 Alive! has restored the face, and the exhaust fan has been moved.
About the artist: Before passing in 2016, Michael Moody was beloved in the Syracuse community. He was one of the founding members of Art on Parade, part of the annual Parade of Homes in Syracuse His art depicted the life and culture of the African American community.
321 West Fayette Street (BOTH sides of the Penny Pub)
Did you know that the shot clock was invented in Syracuse? This mural is actually in two parts – on one side of the building, you’ll see the shot clock at 01 saying “You’ve made it.” On the other, time has run out at 00 seconds with the quote “Till next time.” It acts as a welcome and parting to Armory Square. Clever!
A shot clock can also be seen in Armory Square in front of Starbucks to commemorate the invention.
If you’re really eager to find all of the murals in Syracuse, you’ll have to include those on businesses as well. Sal’s Seafood in North Syracuse has a large fish on the left exterior wall and Boom Babies on Westcott Street has a large mural on the right.
Know of any murals in Syracuse that I missed? Let me know in the comments!