Dec 8

Five Steps to Ignite Change

by: Laura Kochman

The world is incredibly overwhelming right now. We know—we feel it, too. That’s why we’re staying the course with the work we’ve been doing in Philadelphia over the last 30+ years. Equity. Opportunity. Access. Beauty. Everyone deserves these things. And you can be a part of making it happen.

Step 1: Connect with an organization you care about (that’s us!). 

Did you know we’re the nation’s largest public art program? It’s true! Over the last 30 years, the output of a small pro-mural contingent has become one of the defining features of Philadelphia, with an outdoor collection that rivals some of the best art galleries and museums in the world.

So why should you connect with us? It’s simple: Mural Arts gets results. We complete 80–100 public art projects each year through collaborative community work. A majority of this art is in service to programs around youth education, restorative practices, and mental health, pushing artistic boundaries and reinventing ourselves in the service of our favorite city.

Crowds gather to listen to a conversation between Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Hank Willis Thomas, moderated by Salamishah Tillet. City Hall Courtyard, September 16, 2017. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Step 2: Join the conversation. 

We talk a lot and we want to talk to you. Our events calendar is full of public programs that connect and convene people, from artist talks to creative actions. We may be one dedicated office, but we’ve got a citywide mandate. Our hub spaces dot the city from Kensington to Southeast to Tacony, and we embed artists where their enthusiasm and creative ideas are needed most.

The power behind Mural Arts comes from you. Thanks to strategic partnerships with other arts organizations, public transit systems, city departments, and the private sector, we’re able to solicit public feedback in many ways. We take the time to ask questions and to amplify your answers, because we know that big ideas are made up of small parts, and they can come from anywhere.

Paint day for Candy Chang's The Atlas of Tomorrow. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Step 3: Get your hands dirty. 

You may know us for showstopper projects like Monument Lab, Open Source, or psychylustro, but we’re hard at work all year round, in schools, in wellness and rehabilitation centers, and even in prisons. After all this time, most of our public art projects are still murals, though our process has changed from the early days.

Instead of painting directly on the wall, our artists create their designs on cloth panels that come together on the wall to make a whole. These panels are painted at public paint days, and our paint-by-numbers method means that anyone can contribute a mural—young, old, and in between. Want to join? Every brush stroke counts.

Step 4: Give. 

You may be asking yourself: Why should I donate to a city organization? Mural Arts is a unique public/private hybrid organization, so our public dollars are only part of the equation. Every $1 of core support from you creates capacity we can leverage into $4 of program or project support. That means more art and more impact, citywide. We know it’s hard to believe that every dollar makes a difference, but it does. Whether it’s $10, $100, or $1,000, your small act of giving toward our Annual Fund helps us keep doing the work that matters. Plus, it’s a unique way to make your mark on the city.

Your Hands Shimmering on the Legs of Rain Mural Dedication, October 5, 2016. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Step 5: Celebrate your community and make friends for life. 

Get into the confetti zone at one of the many mural dedications we host all over the city. Observe the budding talents of young people in our Restorative Justice Guild program, who are building their skill sets and preparing for bright futures. Applaud our Art Education students at their annual exhibition, where we recognize the hard work they put in throughout the year. Come to community meetings. Inquire about joining our advisory council.

There are so many opportunities to see firsthand how your contribution has made a huge difference in someone’s daily life. Every smiling face in the room makes the celebration brighter. Now, aren’t you glad you decided to connect with Mural Arts? What are you waiting for? Go change the world!

Last updated: Dec 8, 2017

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