When I was a student at the University of Florida, there was a very infamous mural on a main street in Gainesville. Fraternities would paint the wall with their Greek letters, Gator fans would paint the wall before big games, and community members would add their signature touches. This ever-changing wall art was a part of the community, as members would frequent the area to see the latest artwork being displayed.
A community mural reflects the culture and vibe of a particular city. I live in Fort Lauderdale now, where community murals bring life to struggling areas of the city. Murals connect children and adults with the art community in their area. Local artists, like Jacklyn Laflamme, lead projects to beautify depressed communities.
So how can you lead a mural project in your community? Here are the steps that are taken in the city Philadelphia:
- Lead artists are selected to initiate and supervise the project.
- A wall is selected and is authorized for use by the city.
- A budget is created based on available funds along with individual and corporate sponsorship.
- The lead artists engage the community in the design of the artwork.
- The artists draft an image of the mural based on community feedback.
- The surface of the wall is prepared for the project.
- The mural is painted on the wall with the assistance of community volunteers, including adults and children.
- The community celebrates the completion of the mural with a dedication event.
Involving children in the process of contributing ideas for the artwork and allowing them to assist in the painting connects children with their communities. This sense of connection can teach them to respect their surroundings and feel a sense of pride in their city. Uniting artists with children to create a piece that can be seen by all members of the community teaches creativity and appreciation for the arts.