Public Art & Civic Engagement Capacity Building Initiative 2020-2023

Mural Arts is excited to announce the selection of three organizations to participate in the new Public Art & Civic Engagement Capacity Building Initiative (PACE), offered by the Mural Arts Institute.

The primary goal of our new PACE Initiative is to help develop sustainable infrastructure to support the growth of socially-engaged public art in communities around the United States. After a competitive selection process, the three host institutions selected to participate in this inaugural cohort are Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon in Portland, Oregon; Louisville Visual Art in Kentucky; and the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, Illinois.

During the 30-month program, each organization will work with artists and community to create two works of public art in a civically engaged manner, including sending the artists for an immersion incubator program to Philadelphia (pending COVID restrictions). Participation in PACE is a unique growth opportunity for participating organizations, requiring significant time, commitment, and strategic alignment. Each organization will participate in the following activities:

  • Customized learning agenda for each organization and the full cohort
  •  Public Workshops and learning activities
  •  Artist Catalyst program including artist subgrants and incubator
  •  Annual public symposium

Participants will gain a range of tools, support, learning opportunities, as well as financial support for the organizations and the artist catalysts who will lead projects in their communities together.

Additional goals of the PACE Capacity Building Initiative are to strengthen a national network of socially engaged public art practitioners, and produce and disseminate research, case studies and useful advice to a national audience. The Mural Arts Institute has hired Sherman Cultural Strategies to lead the research and evaluation work for the PACE Initiative.

About the Participants 

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) unites Asians and Pacific Islanders to build power, develop leaders, and advance equity through organizing, advocacy, community development, and cultural work. We envision a just world where Asians and Pacific Islanders and communities who share our aspirations and struggles have the power, resources, and voice to determine our own futures, and where we work in solidarity to drive political, social, economic, and cultural change.

Louisville Visual Art (LVA) serves artists living and working in Louisville, KY throughout their creative lifecycles. We nurture school age artists with education offerings for grades 4-12 that provide essential skills in art making, critical reflection, and aesthetic appreciation. LVA supports young artists emerging from college into professional careers and elevate the visibility and value of working artists in our city. LVA’s growing Mural Arts Program enhances all of these efforts, allowing school age students to learn by doing on a large scale, training local artists from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds in mural-making techniques, employing mid-career and emerging artists to create highly visible work, and celebrating rich histories and inspiring leaders all across Louisville.

Founded in 1940, the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) in Chicago is the nation’s only continuously operated community art center of the more than one hundred founded as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. It nourished the careers of many important American artists—Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Gordon Parks, Eldzier Cortor, Margaret Burroughs, the artists of AFRICOBRA, and many others. Today, the SSCAC continues its mission of conserving, preserving, and promoting the legacy and future of African American artists while educating the community on the value of art and culture. It maintains an active slate of exhibitions, classes, and public programs and a deep engagement with community in all aspects of its work.


The Public Art & Civic Engagement (PACE) Capacity Building Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Mural Arts Institute is supported by the JPB Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.