A People’s Budget

Re-Envisioning the City Budget

  • location


  • Neighborhood


  • completion date

    July 01, 2022

About the Project 

Calls to “defund” programs and “invest” in others echo in cities across the United States. Activists and policymakers are demanding cuts to police, debt servicing, and fossil fuels, and reinvestment in social services, financial safety nets, and renewable energy. Services that directly support, instead of harm, those most impacted by crime, poverty, and public health issues band communities together with resources rather than cause them to fight for scraps. Disproportionately, Black, Brown, and immigrant communities face a double-edged sword of underfunding, aggressive law enforcement, and environmental conditions that challenge their very survival. While budgets are complex financial documents, they are also a mission statement for the city – a real-world accounting of officials’ priorities. Organizations that advocate for a just budget recognize that building a multi-issue and multi-racial coalition is necessary towards providing for all Philadelphians.

Learn more about the Budget 


A number of organizations are coming together to demand a People’s Budget which ensures that the city provides resources we all deserve. Check out these links to learn more about the demands:


Budget documents and reports 


Year Two: People’s Budget 

Produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia and facilitating artist Phoebe Bachman, People’s Budget FY23 brings together a group of artists to collectively reimagine Philadelphia’s city budget. Selected artists Blanche Brown, Eugenio Salas, Samantha Rise, and Maia Chao will work collectively to visualize five core components of the city budget: how we exchange and steward, how we heal and protect our community, how we learn and grow, how we live and share space, and how we govern and administrate.

The goal is to advocate, negotiate, collaborate, and dream of a city budget that is more just, equitable, and sustainable. Through these negotiations, artists are creating a series of posters wheat-pasted across Philly and an event in May that invites the public to imagine what they want to see from the budget.

Year Two Artist Team

Phoebe Bachman

Blanche Brown

Maia Chao

Samantha Rise

Eugenio Salas

Year One: Stitching our Futures 

Stitching our Futures is a participatory art project that brings Philadelphians together to learn about the city’s budgetary process and imagine the possibilities of re-allocating funds towards community investment on their own terms. Participants were invited to attend a series of online Teach-Ins hosted by artist Phoebe Bachman with grassroots advocates and city representatives speaking about their priorities for the upcoming budget cycle. Working through a materially-specific process rooted in the American tradition of quilt-making, these quilted squares were pieced together to form powerful quilts; a patchwork vision of Philadelphian’s stories of community investment and the place of each individual in the fabric of our city. The quilts were be publicly displayed to foster conversations about the city budget and citizen-led priorities.

Year One Artist Team

Phoebe Bachman

Jesse Krimes


City of Philadelphia


City of Philadelphia Budget Office, Social Justice Sewing Academy, Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild