Jun 27, 2024

Printmaking by the People: Citywide Voices on 2026

by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson

Mural Arts is getting ready to celebrate America’s big birthday celebration – our 250th is in 2026!  While the semiquincentennial is two years away, we are getting ready now by bringing people’s voices into an urgent conversation:  What does this milestone mean to you? What values do we share, as a people and a community? What are the changes we seek today? We are facilitating this conversation through a citywide printmaking and mural making project.


Photo: Lindsey Rosenberg

Starting in the fall of 2024, Mural Arts will partner with community-based printmaking organizations to host dozens of workshops throughout the city that feature artist-led dialogue and opportunities for people to express their ideas by making posters. The project will result in a signature mural, which will offer a powerful message and legacy for the city, as well as an online archive, publications, books and public events.

Printmaking by the People will reimagine printmaking’s historic role in public communication and civic dialogue, particularly its roots in Philadelphia as a means of disseminating debates about the movement for independence, while also tapping into printmaking’s ongoing popularity as a medium for artists who want to promote civic dialogue and social change.

This Summer 2024, we have already started test workshops throughout the city to refine our approach led by artists Bill Brookover and Rhonda Viscusi-Babb; Chloe Epstein; Monika Lin; Lori Raggio; Sofie Seymour and Joy Lai; Dre Grigoropol, and Corey Bechelli.  And starting in the Fall through Summer 2025, we will host up to 50 community based workshops across Philadelphia.  In the Fall of 2025 our muralist team will design a mural based on content generated through the workshops and the final mural will be installed in the spring of 2026.  This vast outreach will help us to truly reflect the diverse voices of our city.


Liberty, Freedom, and Social Justice by Lori Raggio

June 26, 2024  |  Tacony Lab Community Art Center  |  6918 Torresdale Ave, Philadelphia

In this workshop we will discuss the words “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” to create a dialogue of what Freedom and Social Justice mean in relation to the Declaration of Independence. We will then take our ideas and express them visually through a relief print made using EZ Cut Linoleum and Gelli plate printing for the background.


Among These Are… by Monika Lin

Workshop dates TBA

This workshop will allow participants to engage in guided discussion about the Declaration of Independence, and then create their own version of the document using various printmaking techniques, including relief print, monoprint, stencil, and stamping. Each person will receive a pre-printed, reimagined version of the Declaration, which will include more equitable language and space for self-authorship to open up dialogue regarding representation and socially constructed hierarchies such as gender, race, and sexuality throughout the history of the U.S. Participants will also be able to incorporate a self-portrait into their documents.


Expressing Independence by Chloe Epstein

July 21, 2024  |  1-4pm  |  Philadelphia Sketch Club |  235 S Camac St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

To help commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Expressing Independence workshop will allow attendees to create two prints related to the document and its core ideas using erasure print techniques, while learning about printmaking and engaging in discussion. It is recommended for high school students and adults, and no prior experience with printmaking or art will be necessary.


Social Media 1776: Printing for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Rhonda Viscusi-Babb and Bill Brookover

July 30, 2024  |  4:30 pm – 6:30 PM  |  Free Library of Philadelphia, Independence Branch, 18 S. 7th Street

This workshop will allow participants to learn about the role of print and posters in political discourse and the dissemination of ideas more broadly. We will discuss ideas enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and their relevance today, and with the guidance of professional printmakers, participants will design and print copies of their own political poster using three printmaking techniques.


Blueprint for our Future: Declarations of Interdependence by Sofie Rose Seymour and Joy Lai

Workshop dates TBA

In this workshop participants will be able to rearrange, recombine, and layer together excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, their own writing and illustrations, and personal possessions in order to interrogate, challenge, and reclaim this document and the nation it created. By having excerpts of the Declaration prepared on transparent sheets, participants will be able to cut up and rearrange words, block out or annotate the text, and add their own words, creating a new declaration from the building blocks of the old while using the cyanotype process.


Mimeograph Revolutionaries by Corey Bechelli & Dre Grigoropol

Workshop dates TBA

Almost 250 years ago, the American colonies announced their independence from their colonial rulers. This revolutionary declaration spread across the world in the form of 200 printed broadsides. As we near the anniversary of the creation of America’s founding document, we invite you to join this printmaking workshop reflecting on the importance of the Declaration of Independence in 2024. Revitalizing the printing tool known as the Mimeograph, itself responsible for disseminating revolutionary thought during the 20th century, we will work together to print our own declarations about what independence means to us.

For more information about the workshops or the project, please email: lindsey.rosenberg@muralarts.org

Project Partners


Free Library of Philadelphia

Funded by

Philadelphia Funders Consortium for 2026, Philadelphia250

Photo credit: Artist Monika Lin leads a workshop for Printmaking for the People at the Art Ed studios, 417 N 8th St.  Photos by Todd W. Bressi.

Last updated: Jun 28, 2024

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