Shari Hersh

Shari Hersh is a community artist, organizer and facilitator. She has worked with Mural Arts Philadelphia for over twenty years where she established the Art Education Department, the Project Management Office, and founded the Restored Spaces Initiative and Trash Academy Program. She is currently the Director of the Environmental Justice Department. Hersh’s preoccupations as both artist and producer are oriented around the tenets of environmental justice, organizing horizontal collaborations, and building projects that center relationships and reinforce social fabric. Hersh was on the artistic team on Philadelphia Assembled, a two year project at the PMA that aimed to tell a story of radical community building and active resistance through the personal and collective narratives that make up Philadelphia’s changing urban fabric. Hersh researches and develops innovative projects in the public sphere that both practice visioning and building A More Just Future and encourage all project participants to move from individualism to collectivism. In partnership with artists, activists, youth and communities, Hersh facilitates a collaborative model of practice that emphasizes art, imagination and creativity as essential vehicles for catalyzing dialogue, building relationships and making decisions collectively and affirming citizen rights to shape and use the city’s public spaces. Her work addresses the question, ‘How can we reknit social fabric through reshaping our communities, our environment and ourselves?’

Hersh holds a lifelong interest in textiles and handwork, seeing them as documents of women’s creativity and social endeavor. She recently initiated a project called Home Studio Lab, that uses needle arts to initiate conversations about racism and white privilege. Combining insights from trauma informed care with the recent surge in theory and action for racial equity, Home Studio Lab seeks to create safe spaces for challenging dialogue and reflection on urgent issues of equity and connection.

Last updated: Mar 10, 2022