Muralism: 100 Murals by 2028
Muralism connects Angelenos with special needs to the community through public art projects while providing employment to a population underrepresented in the work force. Muralism artists will design and paint 100 murals across Los Angeles County by the 2028 Summer Olympics.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
Muralism was founded in 2018 with the knowledge that people with special needs can do productive, valued and beautiful work, but their job prospects are limited. Adults with autism report poorer social and vocational outcomes than any other disability group. They often don’t earn a living wage, have a partner, or participate in the community. (Solomon, M. “How to help young adults with autism transition to adulthood” 7 Aug. 2018) Muralism addresses this lack of inclusion by employing these individuals to paint public art. Our artists gain work experience, social skills, confidence and competence. Kevin Titcher, has worked for 18-months, ”I enjoy the creativity and I’m learning something new every day, not just with art but with tools and new techniques.” By involving community volunteers to help paint, our artists engage with a range of personalities. Each mural is unique and creates a sense of place and belonging. Our initiative aims to propel adults with ASD toward self-reliance.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
Muralism provides paid work experience and social interaction to adults on the autism spectrum while creating public art. Muralism will paint 100 murals across Los Angeles County by the 2028 Summer Olympics. As of April 2021, our team and community volunteers finished 17 projects, including 30 individual utility box murals across Valley Village. A 100K grant will fund operating costs to complete 10 large-scale wall murals. In collaboration with business owners, neighborhood councils, and city council staff, Muralism will identify public facing walls that will be impactful when painted. Our artists design the mural, prep and prime the wall, outline and color code the image in a paint-by-number fashion. We recruit volunteers to paint alongside our crew. During the COVID pandemic, we transitioned to focus our efforts on small-scale utility box murals that allow for social distancing. We provide PPE including masks, gloves, aprons and sanitizer. Volunteers are assigned specific time slots. Our work readiness classes are offered via Zoom. This has limited the in-person social contact that is so vital to our ASD employees. However, we have been able to grow the number of participants in our online work readiness forum. When business leaders see the work our artists do and volunteers work alongside our team, there is a shift in perception that those with special needs can contribute in impactful ways to our city. We hope our platform opens doors to future employment for our artists.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 15
Indirect Impact: 250,000
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Each mural project is an opportunity to engage underrepresented young adults in the LA County workforce. Our initiative aims to increase disability inclusion, increase the percentage of LA residents who volunteer, and move the needle toward greater participation in neighborhood councils. In the short term, Muralism will continue to employ 7 artists with special needs with the goal of growing that number to 15 by the end of 2021. In the long-term, we anticipate the work readiness skills learned on the job with Muralism will propel these individuals to their next job opportunity. Jacob Riess, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, works part time for Muralism while going to school to be a 3D animator. “It’s nice to show we give back to the community.” The long-term impact of our initiative is lasting public art pieces that add beauty, foster neighborhood pride and promote community involvement.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Muralism has completed 17 projects on our way to a goal of 100 by 2028. Each project is distinctive and allows us the ability to engage a range of stakeholders in the process. Our artists with special needs have painted alongside LAPD officers & cadets, burn survivors, Veterans, business owners, neighborhood council representatives, families and the general public at community events like NOHO Summer Nights. Typical peers interact and learn from our special needs artists while our artists gain confidence. “You learn a lot from them too,” says Muralism artist Kevin Titcher, “It’s great when you can put your minds together and get something done faster and better.” We measure our impact by counting the number of volunteer participants and hours worked on each mural. To date, we’ve enlisted 1200 volunteers and logged 3850 volunteer hours. Additionally, through resume development and interview skills training, Muralism has helped three artists secure additional employment in LA County.
Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?
Public arts and cultural events
Disability access and inclusion
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
LA is the best place to CREATE