09 March 2009

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Today's feature focuses on the power of the arts in community building and healing. Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program (MAP) is a public art program that works in partnership with communities, grassroots organizations, city agencies, prisons, and schools. Though focused on serving the Philadelphia area, the organization's work has drawn national attention for its use of the mural to help prevent crime and rehabilitate those convicted of crimes, all while beautifying city neighborhoods. MAP is one of the largest public arts initiatives of its kind in the United States.

MAP's mission is "to engage in art education and community public art collaborations, and to increase public access to art." Their goals are to:
  • Develop sustainable partnerships with community organizations in order to create murals that reflect the community's culture, history, and vision.
  • Catalyze community development, neighborhood activism, and civic pride.
  • Foster youth development through experiential art education and mentorships with professional artists.
  • Support artists and artisans in sharing their talent and experience with youth and communities in Philadelphia.
  • Use the power of art and the mural design process as tools for community engagement, blight remediation, beautification, demonstration of civic pride, and prevention and rehabilitation of crime.
MAP creates over 100 community murals per year. To date the organization has educated of 20,000 under served youths and produced over 2,800 murals. 

Their programming provides free, quality art education programs to at-risk youth, and programs in restorative justice serving youth and adult offenders in local prisons and rehabilitation centers. Using the restorative power of the arts to break the cycle of crime and violence. 

More recently MAP has gone "off the wall" to include Special Projects. These projects include Gateway projects, public sculptures, art along major commercial corridors, and a range of other creative projects designed to transform the city and its residents through art.

For more information on MAP's programs, articles on their work, and how you can get involved please visit MAP's website.

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