Community Engagement is the cornerstone of the process of making a community mural. There are so many kinds of communities so your community might be a group of people from a neighborhood, school or church. Your group might be just 5 people or 50! Different people will take on different duties to make a successful project. The process of meeting together for planning meetings, design meetings, and also to paint can make a group of strangers into a group of friends. The results of the group effort is not only a piece of art, but a stronger community!

Below are quotes from mural artists about their perceptions of the benefits of community-based public art. If you have your own quote to add, whether you are an artist or community member, please email us at

Chicago Public Art Group

“First, let’s consider the outcomes for the direct participants—the people who help with the planning, organizing, fundraising, design, and making of a project. These people frequently report an increased sense of agency, a pride founded in the recognition that they have made a substantive contribution to their environment.

Second, such projects create a sense that individuals and organizations can work together to have an impact on people’s lives. Most projects represent collaborations of several organizations—local agencies, community organizations, schools, government entities. Public art projects demonstrate that such structures can function to enhance community life in practical and deeply emotional ways.

… When people see a fantastic art project in their neighborhood, they perceive themselves as being part of a community that can produce something of high quality. This can overcome internalized negative feelings from living in dysfunctional neighborhoods or in prosperous places that lack a sense of cohesion and belonging.”

RICHARD HARRISON of A Midsummer Mural
Quote is from an artist survey the sent to community-based muralists

“The benefits to a community to paint a mural are many. They get a chance to express their identity; who they are, where they came from, and what’s important to them. They get together in meetings and get to know each other better. Bridges are built between owners of businesses and residents, people who are needing resources and those who can help them. Creative ideas like community gardens and other projects get brainstormed and energized. Problems the community are experiencing get discussed and people feel heard and more hopeful about getting to a better future. Churches, social organizations, and business associations get involved and get an opportunity for awareness of what they offer and how people can use their services. The final product can add color and beauty to walls that once were ugly magnets for graffiti. Youth get new ideas of how to express their creativity and it leads them to better life paths. People feel encouraged to pick up trash, mow grass, keep up the area, and feel proud of where they live.”

Quote is from an artist survey the sent to community-based muralists

“Collaborating with a community means that there is a possibility to have more content for the mural, more ideas floating around, more people experiencing the process, more connections to people and to the artwork being made, more people being proud of what is being created, and more impactful the mural can be. It also gets you invested in that certain community for a while, which I feel pushes you more to make the mural the best that it can be.  It’s also a giant learning experience both culturally and technically for both the artists and the communities.

My favorite aspect of being part of a community mural is being able to hear other people’s stories, learn more about that community, and seeing the value and impact that the mural can have no matter how small or big.  Also knowing that your are doing what you love will be appreciated by others, while actually being part of something that was not just yours but of people in that community and sharing the ideas of that community through art.  I guess all the communal aspects of creating a community mural is what I like.”


Community Public Art Process
by Jon Pounds and Olivia Guide