If you are an artist who has a desire to improve public spaces and neighborhoods, either in your community or elsewhere, you may want to consider unique opportunities for artists found in mural projects. Some of the existing mural art programs are voluntary, others offer paid positions and/or they offer training programs.
There are many rewards inherent in participating in community mural art programs and projects. As you may recall the inspirational article Artist Lily Yeh Transforms Communities Around The World by Mary Lou Dauray.
In regions that lack the monetary resources to incorporate the arts in their schools, mural projects in communities allow artists the opportunity to educate young students about how to create art, expose them to positive ways to direct their talents, build their self-esteem and pride, and offer alternatives to destructive behavior. Through mural projects in healthcare facilities artists bring peace and hope to patients. Through any number of mural projects artists can literally enhance or possibly save a person’s life.
Here are three different mural art programs that may be within your geographic region. If nothing exists, that may be a wonderful opportunity for you to recruit some fellow artists and create your own program.
Splashes of Hope in New York
Splashes of Hope is a non-profit organization that has helped hundreds of medical facilities transform their walls to enhance the moods of their patients. As Karyn Meyer-Berthel wrote in her article on this website, Art is ‘splashed’ on the walls of a vast array of facilities such as orphanages, cancer centers, hospitals, veterans homes, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, hospices, and shelters, and many more.
According to the Splashes of Hope mission statement: “We at Splashes of Hope dedicate ourselves to transform, enrich and facilitate healing through art. With this mission, we have brought murals and other artistic projects to medical and social service facilities around the globe. Our murals are custom-designed to meet the specific needs of the facility’s patients, staff and visitors.”
The organization works with volunteer artists, donations and donations in-kind to create the murals. Artists can volunteer to design murals for hospitals, or get trained to paint murals for locations across the country. The administrative office and art studio for Splashes of Hope are located in Huntington, New York. For information visit the website’s volunteer page.
The Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia
The Mural Arts Program located in Philadelphia, PA, hires artists for mural projects. Its mission is “to represent the work of diverse artists, and to enrich our neighborhoods and communities. We strive to appropriately match artists with mural painting and teaching, opportunities throughout the City of Philadelphia.” To apply as an artist to the Mural Arts Program, you are required to complete an electronic form on the website.
Each year the Mural Arts Program offers a Muralist Training Program for artists interested in adapting their skills to public mural-making. The Muralist Training Program offers the following: A comprehensive overview of the community mural-making process; An in-depth look at design challenges that arise in the community mural process; Step-by-step instruction on mural making techniques, including wall preparation, design enlargement, paint application, the cloth method, and sealing the completed project; and more. Learn more.
Mural Program in Baltimore
The purpose of the Baltimore Mural Program is “to make Baltimore neighborhoods more attractive, instill a sense of pride, provide employment for artists in their own field, combat graffiti in neighborhoods, and engage people in the beautification of their communities.”
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is seeking mural artists and artist teams to include in the Baltimore Mural Program’s Artist Registry. The registry is used to aid the selection of qualified artists for program commissions and to distribute notifications regarding upcoming mural opportunities. Information is publicly available to groups seeking artists for hire. Artists may submit their qualifications online where there is a link to an application form. Learn more.
Imagine how many children you can help and how many neighborhoods you can beautify through mural art projects. For leads, ideas and resources check your local artists registries, city art councils, or public schools.