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.

Dedication for Remembering a Forgotten Hero, by Willis Humphrey and Keir Johnston. 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.

Before
After

Repeat! 

Our work is never done.


 

Get Involved 

Our community-driven mural making process builds on Mural Arts’ guiding principles of collaboration and equity, and is open to every individual in Philadelphia. We are looking for ideas that tell the story of our city and connect people through creativity. Read on to find out how you or your community group can request a mural—artists with ideas are welcome!—and please review our mission statement before starting your application.

Apply for a Mural