Jul 12

These Murals Are on the Move

by: Laura Kochman

Our Art Education program couldn’t exist without collaboration and outreach—our initiatives embed teaching artists at public schools, or set up programming at youth facilities. So it was a pretty natural move to make our programming even more mobile. This spring, we launched our newest initiative: Murals on the Move.

The program brings seasoned teaching artists in a fully-stocked, colorful van to rec centers around the city. Because everyone deserves access to art, no matter where you live. We asked two of our teaching artists, Star and Daniel, how the experience has been so far.


  • Working on a Murals on the Move activity. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Working on a Murals on the Move activity. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Working on a Murals on the Move activity at Smith Rec Center. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • A Murals on the Move activity. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Star: It’s been really fun! I didn’t know what to expect—Rodney had put together the bones of the program and we were given a really cool van. We’ve had an awesome teammate in Donavon, who brought his own spice to the equation. All of these ingredients made it really easy for us to go in and do something fun. A lot of Philadelphia’s kids don’t have art in school at all, and I think a lot of people forget that for a lot of kids, that’s their only intro to art. Period. Even something as entry-level as crayons and paper—for a lot of kids, that’s not what mom is getting from the market. So we’d come in and color some buttons, and start talking about murals. It was just fun—they were a lot of fun, the team was just fun, and I had a good time.

Daniel: It was exciting going to different neighborhoods and seeing that in all these different corners of the city—kids are kids everywhere. They want to play and talk, and make stuff, and tell you what they care about, and it was really fun to give the kids a space to be themselves. So much of what I know of day-to-day schooling is about fitting in and comparing your work to everybody else’s, and it was fun to let the kids break out of that. For an hour or two, they did something where there wasn’t an end goal in sight. It was also nice working with little kids, because a lot of the programs I’ve done at Mural Arts worked with high-schoolers and middle schoolers, which is awesome, fascinating work in its own right—but it was really cool to see young people at an earlier stage. They’re a little bit freer and less set on who they have to be. We’d pop up as a surprise at these rec centers and we always left wanting to stay a couple minutes longer.

Star: Yeah, even though we came at the end of their day. The kids were giving, too, because they could have been like, “Absolutely not,” but they gave us so much of themselves.


Check the Murals on the Move schedule to see when we’ll be at a rec center near you!


Murals on the Move is a collaboration with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Last updated: Jul 12, 2018

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