Art & Environment Capacity-Building Initiative

Building capacity of organizations nationally

With the Art & Environment Capacity-Building Initiative, the Mural Arts Institute strives to build the capacity of organizations nationally (starting in three cities) to use public art as a catalyst for community engagement, leadership, and stewardship in advancing sustainable solutions to a range of environmental challenges and opportunities.

Over the next few years United States cities will see increasingly severe climate impacts, even if we begin to cut carbon emissions tomorrow. Climate change will affect us all, but low-income communities and communities of color will experience it disproportionately, and have fewer financial resources available to cope. Resilience — the ability to prepare for and cope with change — is a critical capacity for communities to develop. Resilience isn’t simply about being able to “bounce back” after a disaster, but also about using the necessity of climate change adaptation as an opportunity to build on community strengths to address a wide range of needs, improving the quality of life and sustainability.

Moreover, resilience isn’t just about the built environment. Social cohesion and trust, collaborative civic participation and leadership, equitable access to resources, strong formal and informal networks, cross-sector partnerships, and inclusive and diverse civic spaces are all critical factors that support community resilience. These are precisely the outcomes that Mural Arts has seen from its work with diverse communities throughout Philadelphia.

With its Art & Environment Capacity Building Initiative, Mural Arts aims to support other communities in using collaborative, participatory arts-based processes to address local environmental issues. The community relationships, skills, and capacities built throughout these processes will contribute to community resilience in a time of climate change.  Mural Arts’ approach is highly collaborative: we seek to share our own knowledge, experiences, and resources while also enabling internal self-discovery for each city and exchange among the cohort as a whole. Each city will have its own unique set of conditions and assets to work with, and we hope to be able to inform practice elsewhere through documenting the diverse set of approaches that emerge.

Letters of interest for participation in the June 2020 to June 2022 initiative are now closed. LOI’s will be reviewed by Mural Arts and its national advisory committee to generate a short list of finalist teams, who will then be expected to host Mural Arts Institute leadership for a site visit and provide additional information or materials as identified during this decision-making phase. Three participating lead organizations and their teams will be selected in the final round. We will follow up with teams directly regarding next steps.

Please bookmark and continue to visit this page through 2020 for updates.