Our Process

Look: See the Big Picture 

Change starts by looking beyond the surface. Our work starts with a genuine curiosity about what makes Philadelphia tick. We look for the issues that drive and make our city, and we look for the problems Philadelphia and its residents are grappling with daily.

Listen: Active Listening is Powerful 

Listening as part of change is about learning and understanding. Each project begins active listening: we ask questions, and foster dialogue among disparate groups. This is the listening that makes sure that everyone is heard, the listening that amplifies voices that have been muted.

A view of 632 Jackson Street during Action 2. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Connect: Build Bridges of Dialogue 

Connections begin when people picture themselves in each other’s shoes. Once we have found our inspiration, we mobilize our partners and build a team of individuals – artists, participants, residents, nonprofit leaders, funders, policymakers – anyone who wants to help us make change happen. We connect people and institutions who normally do not talk to each other, and build bridges of dialogue over longstanding chasms of misunderstanding, distrust, or ignorance. The connections are not always comfortable or convenient. But they result in important conversations that spark change – in attitudes, in understanding, and in hearts and minds.

Chip Tomas and Ursula Rucker at the You Go Girl mural dedication. Photo by Steve Weinik

Celebrate: Both the Journey and Each Other 

The art is simply the most visible part as the end product of a long and complicated process of collaboration – which in itself leads to substantive change. We create resources and opportunity. We create moments for reflection and celebration. We create hope and optimism about a different future. Our process of collaborative art making becomes a powerful vehicle for inspiring these other creative forces. The bonus is that through this process, we also create a lot of beauty along the way.

Tulip painting on a barricade on the 34th St Bridge in Mantua. Photo by Albert Yee.


Our work is never done.


Get Involved 

Do you want to get involved in the process by applying for a mural for your community? Download the Mural Application form below to learn more. A few things to consider first:

  • The established annual deadlines for mural applications are March 15th and November 15th. Selected mural projects will be announced by May 15th for the March deadline and January 15th for the November deadline.
  • Mural requests are accepted throughout the year; however, all applications will be reviewed at the established deadlines indicated above.
  • THERE IS NO WAITING LIST! Unless you have heard from Mural Arts Philadelphia in writing that you are receiving a mural based on a past application, you must submit a new application in order for your mural request to be reconsidered.
Apply for a Mural (PDF)

And don’t forget to follow us on our social media channels to see what happens next.