Learning about Art and Social Impact through Philadelphia Murals and Community Service

Linda Lin

Penn Office of the Provost

Friday, January 8, 2016

"'Mural Arts' is an Academically-Based Community Service Course that aims to “integrate service with research, teaching, and learning, and improve the quality of life in the community.” It is offered through Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships and cross-listed by the Urban Studies and Fine Arts programs. Last semester, the course was comprised of multiple components, each of which provided a distinct insight into the relationship between mural-making and social impact. Readings and research informed us about the history, theory, pedagogy, and case studies of murals and social practice art; several field trips to West Philadelphia, Southeast Philadelphia, and Center City to see murals of various styles in person allowed us to experience the urban environment beyond campus and get to know the different communities of Philadelphia.

Guest speakers, including project directors and staff artists from the Mural Arts Program, would frequently come to class and share their knowledge about the organization as well as their experience of working on specific community art projects (Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light). A site visit to City Hall was one of the highlights of the course and provided the rare opportunity to meet with Councilwoman Cindy Bass. We asked for her opinions on Philadelphia murals from the city government’s perspective, in which she emphasized the beautification of neighborhoods and the social and economic impact murals have effected."  

Read more about the amazing work and impact that this course has made here!