2022 Grants Challenge

Muralism Connecting Special Needs Through Art

Idea by Muralism

Income inequality impacts the special needs community most of all. Muralism gives them the opportunity to earn money while creating meaningful art with their community. We intend to create murals throughout the LA area highlighting our rich history and diverse community, while creating an inclusive environment for artists with special needs. With the LA2050 grant, we intend to add an additional 8 murals to the Los Angeles cityscape that will include artists and volunteers from all abilities, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

Other:: We are LAUSD approved vendor

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

No where is income inequality more prevalent than amongst special needs young adults. What they need is training and work. Muralism was created to find these exceptional individuals and give them the training and experience they need, while doing something they love. According to Forbes Magazine, April 27th 2021, unemployment among people with Autism is as high as 85%. The numbers are even higher with other disabilities. Disabilities, including Autism, affect all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. What they need is to become an integral part of society. The best way for inclusion to become a reality is for special needs individuals to work side by side with everybody else. How better than by painting a community mural with the community? Working with special needs individuals, everyone, especially potential employers, gets to experience their strengths. Our projects bring joy, employment, and a sense of community for everyone.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Muralism Mission: Connecting People with Special Needs to the Community through Art. Muralism emphasizes inclusion while creating art for the community. Paid Artists with special needs beautify Los Angeles walls. We partner with other nonprofits to create murals illustrating the diversity of our community. “Paint by number” murals are prepared by neurodiverse artists. The public then joins the artists to color in the mural and experiences the strengths they bring to the Los Angeles community. Our team then details the art. Everyone returns for a ribbon cutting celebration with media and public officials. Muralism’s goal is to paint 100 murals in Los Angeles County by the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Neurodiverse artists create beautiful representations of LA’s rich history. We teach, support, train, and employ young adults with special needs to paint murals for schools, shelters, police stations, public spaces, and even our councilman’s office. Artists come from the Latino, African American, Caucasian, Asian, Indigenous, Homeless, and LGBTQ communities. We have developed a tailored and innovative system to educate and train employees. Vocational, on-the-job, and art classes prepare individuals to work and not just for Muralism. Two artists have already left us for full-time positions. Three are in training for teaching positions. They each have a plan, a coach, and lots of supervised training. We provide them with a purpose and future.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

During the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles was considered the mural capital of the world. Today cities like Philadelphia and Miami rival that claim. Every mural inspires 10 more artists to create their own murals. Let’s make the City of Angels beautiful, together! A study at one of our murals, The Campbell Center, estimated that 31K people drive by that mural every day. That is only one of the 30 murals we have already produced. We intend to create at least 70 more murals in Los Angeles before the 2028 Summer Olympics. Special needs artists will earn 21,000 more paid hours. Another 5000 volunteers will experience Muralism before we have reached our goal. We have several public walls identified and cleared with property owners and the city, but lack the funds to make them happen. Many more nonprofits reach out to us every day looking to match funds for Paint Day Events. LA2050 funding would mean many more lives are changed and Los Angeles will be exponentially more beautiful.

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 collects data including the number of murals completed, locations, subject, and diversity. We track the number of Artists, volunteers, hours in training, number of students, salaries, nonprofit partners, constituents served and the diversity of the communities we work in. We have developed a QR code tracking to measure interest in each mural. We record every mural and create an edited video to put those up on social media. We have recently set up a donor management system to track individuals, corporations and contributions. We track artist evaluations, training and advancement of artists we employ. We have created 30 murals so far in over 20 LA communities. We have had over 2000 volunteers. We have provided over 9,000 paid work hours to special needs artists (more than 1000 hours were paid training). We have provided 728 hours of free Zoom art classes (for both special needs and neurotypical students).100’s of thousands of people have experienced our work around Los Angeles.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,300

Indirect Impact: 1,000,000