Mural Arts Philadelphia (formerly Philadelphia Mural Arts Program) is the largest public art program in the US. Mural Arts engages communities in 50–100 public art projects each year and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Its core program areas—including art education, community murals, and environmental justice—yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults.
Mural Arts Philadelphia will engage internationally-noted Colombian sculptor and visual artist Doris Salcedo in an investigation of the possibilities and ethical considerations of collaborating on artistic work with youth who have been detained at the US southern border. Salcedo’s sculptures and installations respond to pressing societal issues and focus on the untold stories of those directly affected by displacement and violence. Her work often uses domestic materials laden with significance and meanings that have accumulated over years of use in everyday life. To consider the best approach to developing relationships with immigrant children, Mural Arts and Salcedo will form a discovery committee consisting of Philadelphia visual artist and Pew Fellow Michelle Angela Ortiz, Antonio Valdés of the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, and Steven Larín of the Nationalities Service Center. Each committee member will host a roundtable discussion probing themes relevant to the project. With Mural Arts staff, the committee will convene with Salcedo in Colombia to discuss the artist’s practice and what might be applied to a Philadelphia context.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.