Room For Growth

A series of public art and community outreach projects that promote stewardship of the environment.

Seeds of Change seed dispersing mural, and resulting plant life by Kaitlin Pomerantz. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About Room For Growth 

The Environmental Justice Initiative is a series of public art and community outreach projects along commercial corridors in civic spaces and on school campuses that promote stewardship of the environment.

Environmental Justice projects utilize a participatory process that begins with a master plan and vision statement determined collaboratively by the community, youth and stakeholders. Artists and designers then lead workshops to create and produce the artistic and design pieces over several years. The resulting artworks blend mural-making, greening, sculpture, and landscape architecture to shape the urban environment into a cohesive space envisioned by stakeholders.

Project Photos 

  • Wildish by Kim Beck. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Kaitlin Pomerantz led students in a two-part botanical arts investigation, culminating in the creation of a field guide to local urban flora. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Neighborhood Nature by Kaitlin Pomerantz. Photo by Steve Weinik.

The summer of 2013 marked the launch of Mural Arts’ newest Environmental Justice project: the greening and beautification of several corridors surrounding Conestoga Recreation Center and Mastery Charter Shoemaker Campus. The project has been undertaken in conjunction with storm water management and park infrastructure plans from the Trust for Public Land and the Philadelphia Water Department.   In 2006, Shoemaker was identified as the second  most violent school in Philadelphia.  Mastery Charter School was invited to turn the school around by the Philadelphia School District.  Today, Mastery’s Shoemaker Campus is a vibrant community partner where academic achievement is prioritized, violence is nonexistent (decreased by 90%) and student retention is above 96%.  Local Mastery Charter Shoemaker Campus is a leader in the community transformation of educational opportunity and has an enduring commitment to neighborhood service. In addition, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful will partner to enhance neighborhood clean-ups and recycling efforts in the school among other activities. The project is guided by a robust and caring group of residents in the area that have a long tradition of civic engagement.

Community vision for the project

Master planning for art was led by Leah Murphy from Interface Studio with Shari Hersh, Environmental Justice creator and project manager. The master plan represents the community’s reflections on and vision for the site. After completing the Trust for Public Land participatory planning process in fall 2013, artistic opportunities for art on the Parks and Recreation site will be integrated and prioritized in the master plan. The related projects will evolve over the next few years.

About the Artists 

Kim Beck

Kim Beck grew up in Colorado and now lives in Pittsburgh where she works and teaches at Carnegie Mellon. Beck works in a range of media such as drawing, print and installation to survey architecture and landscape. Meditations on weeded lots, street signs, gas station banners, pieces of lawn and sidewalk urge a reconsideration of the built environment, bringing the banal and everyday into focus.

Beverly Fisher

Beverly Fisher is an artist and designer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she graduated from Tyler School of Art with an MFA and is currently doing research in Landscape Architecture at the University of New Mexico.

In the studio, drawings are a primary investigation of composition, line, form and mass. There are 3 series under way, each exploring a different mode of mark making, emotional quality and distillation of experience.

Kaitlin Pomerantz

Kaitlin Pomerantz is a multidisciplinary artist exploring place, time, history, and the relationship between humans and nature (landscape). Pomerantz creates studio and site-based work, teaches, and co-facilitates the pop-up botanical arts project WE THE WEEDS.