There is a fabulous organization in Philadelphia, PA, called Mural Arts Program. Their mission statement says that they unite “artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.” They organize community and school murals, art education programs, restorative justice projects, and other special projects. Their programs bring together people in the community, giving them a common goal to work towards together, with powerful results for the individuals and the community:
The Mural Arts Program includes the community in every step of the mural-making process, from selecting a theme to selecting a muralist, and from collaborating on a design to celebrating the mural’s creation. This way the mural fulfills its intention by becoming a living part of the community long after the project is completed.
We strive to have our mural projects represent collaboration. The mural-making process builds lasting community relationships, bringing together people whose paths might otherwise never have crossed. When diverse community members have joined together to promote the community, the finished mural celebrates their collective creative force.
Community-building, as this program does, is one of the foundations of peace. People who work together on one project are more likely to work together in the future. To conclude, here is a quote about the program from a muralist:
I’ve seen murals bring people together. They don’t solve all of a neighborhood’s problems, but they can bring new life and energy to the people who live there. They can be a catalyst for change.
—Donald Gensler, Muralist