Conversations & Recordings

Our practice in Philadelphia and beyond.

Our practice in Philadelphia and beyond.  

Mural Arts offers think-tank-style public programming on topics connected to socially engaged art. We bring artists, curators, activists, scholars, and leaders from Philadelphia and beyond to explore and share their knowledge on the relationship between public art and social change.

This space offers documentation of or in relation to current and past conversations hosted by Mural Arts’ different program areas and the Mural Arts Institute more specifically. Check our events page for upcoming programming.


Mural Arts Institute Presents  

Art & Environmental Justice Symposium, September 12 – 23, 2022

The Mural Arts Institute hosted a two-week long series of events exploring the intersection of environmental justice and art. Built upon the work of artists and activists stewarding this work across the country through the Arts and Environmental Justice Capacity Building Initiative, Mural Arts Philadelphia brought together conversations, workshops, and events that highlighted transformative cultural practices and participatory public art that shift ecological, political, and social experiences of front-line communities.

This symposium was envisioned by Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman, Mural Arts Institute Collaborator and former Program Manager.

See below for the conversation recordings. Click through to YouTube for descriptions.


Art & Environmental Justice 2022 Mini Documentaries  


Two short documentaries outline the collaborative, participatory arts-based processes utilized to address local environmental justice issues in communities in Austin, TX and Kern County, CA. These films are preceded by two earlier mini documentaries created in 2021 (see below) that set the context for the environmental issues explored further in 2022.

Click here to view the film Estamos Aqui, We Are Here by Fabian Vasquez Euresti sharing documentation of a project led by Dr. Rosanna Esparza and Michelle Glass. It is the culmination of a 2 year process of environmental justice in Kern County, CA.

Click here to view the film produced by Lynae Carroll and Alexandria Anderson that highlights stories of communities in east Austin that have been impacted by institutional racism and environmental injustice.


Mural Arts Institute Presents: Judy Baca and Jane Golden 

On Apr 14, 2022, the Mural Arts Institute (MAI) hosted a conversation reflecting on the past and present of muralism and the role artists and cultural institutions play in stewarding collective memory. Judy Baca, acclaimed muralist and Co-Founder of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Los Angeles, and Jane Golden, Founder of Mural Arts Philadelphia discussed the field of socially engaged public art and commemorated over the past three decades. The discussion was moderated by MAI Director Netanel Portier.

See below for the conversation recordings.

Mural Arts Institute Presents: Towards Repair & Fabrication: Ritual, Art, and Ecologies of Justice 

On October 14, 2021, the Mural Arts Institute presented “Towards Repair & Fabrication: Ritual, Art, and Ecologies of Justice,” facilitated by Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman and Katelyn Rivas. They discussed weaving the intersectionality of racial and environmental justice that serves as the foundation for more just futures. Charlyn/Magdaline Griffith/Oro, of, the Free Brunch Program, and currently in Chronicling Resistance Fellowship with the Philadelphia Area Special Collections Libraries, discussed their new work the Maaluseum and in conversation with Liz Kennedy, of Lead to Life and the Allied Media Conference. They engaged in an intergenerational, interdisciplinary conversation exploring ancestral and earth-based technologies, personal healing practices, and creative community engagement that informs their restorative work for people and the planet

Mural Arts Institute Presents 

Art & Environmental Justice Symposium, May 17 – 21, 2021

This free week-long symposium looking at the transformative work happening at the intersection of arts, community-based cultural practice, and environmental justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further stressed the same communities already grappling with acute climate and environmental crises, both economically and in terms of inequitable health care access and outcomes, and the conversations and workshops that have taken place during the symposium explored how creative people and practices are helping us meet the challenges of this moment.

Several conversations at the symposium were captured by the live illustrations of Tessa Hulls. Illustration_Tessa Hulls.

See below for the conversation recordings. Click through to YouTube for descriptions and speaker bios.


Art & Environmental Justice 2021 Mini Documentaries 

Cities that have worked with the Mural Arts Institute’s Arts and Environment Capacity Building Initiative have created short documentaries about environmental justice issues in their communities, and what a more just future would look like. Below are eight films from Akron, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Kern County, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and two films from various movements in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Standing Rock: Decolonizing Creative Practice in the Environmental Justice Movement 

Join us for a conversation with first-generation anti-colonial scholar Jaskiran Dhillon, and Tlingit member of Kwanlin Dun First Nation queer Indigenous scholar Anne Spice as we explore the centrality of Indigenous knowledge and resistance in shaping our collective future. Water protectors at Standing Rock shifted the entire discourse of the environmental justice movement. What role do creative practices play in contemporary resistance movements around environmental justice? This program is presented by the Mural Arts Institute , through the Arts + Environment Capacity Building Initiative, and in partnership with the Environmental Justice Department at Mural Arts Philadelphia.

May 27: Taking Care of Ourselves & Community 

Mural Arts works to promote the health and wellbeing of individuals as well as communities, especially those who are experiencing food insecurity, substance use, and mental health issues. How are we applying the lessons we’ve learned and the approaches we’ve developed to the new challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses to our personal health?

    • Moderator: Nadia Malik, Mural Arts Philadelphia Porch Light Program 
    • César Mantilla – Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
    • Eduardo Collazo – Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
    • Clayton Ruley – Prevention Point 
    • SWOON – Artist

muraLAB: Art in Action 

As COVID-19 sets into sharp relief the inequalities in our communities, muraLAB: Art in Action will examine how socially-engaged art can help us develop better strategies for dealing with broad systemic issues. muraLAB discussions will be hosted on Zoom and streamed live on the Mural Arts Facebook page. Check our events page for upcoming programming.

May 20: Connecting When We Can't Gather 

The public health measures instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have struck at the very heart of our ability to come together as friends, neighbors and communities. How is this reshaping the strategies and tactics that Mural Arts has been using to promote connectivity and strengthen resilience, and what has this been teaching us about the very nature of community?

  • Moderator: Magda Martinez, Mural Arts Philadelphia
  • Roberto Bedoya, City of Oakland 
  • Pamela Bridgeforth, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations
  • Shira Walinsky, Artist and Teacher

May 13: Rapid Response  

The coronavirus pandemic has forced our city and the rest of the world into crisis mode. In the six weeks since Philadelphia began to enforce quarantine, Mural Arts has worked to innovate quickly at the intersection of art and public health. How can creative practice help us protect each other? How can city agencies collaborate with the arts to foster safe spaces and respond to the pandemic? The goal of this panel is to share learnings to date and discuss new paths forward.

  • Moderator: Jane Golden, Mural Arts Philadelphia
  • Mica Root, Department of Public Health 
  • Nile Livingston, Artist

May 6: Morality of the Moment  

Artists and partners of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Reimagining Reentry fellowship program examine the problems posed by mass incarceration on both a personal and a systemic level, illuminating the human cost and potential solutions. With the COVID-19 crisis, those problems are more urgent than ever, as large numbers of people are released from incarceration into communities struggling with the crisis, and people remaining in incarceration face deadly health risks.

Read more on the blog.

  • Moderator: Greg Corbin, Mural Arts Philadelphia Restorative Justice Program
  • Mary Baxter, Mural Arts Reimagining Re-entry Fellow 
  • James Hough, Philadelphia District Attorney Artist in Residence
  • Jasmine Heiss, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Rutgers University

Thanks to Our Sponsors 

The Mural Arts Institute is supported by The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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