THE RESTORED SPACES INITIATIVE OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA MURAL ARTS PROGRAM
The Restored Spaces Initiative is an award-winning model for environmental education and sustainable revitalization of schools, recreation centers and neighborhood corridors, originated and led by Shari Hersh. Restored Spaces works from a model of co-production with multidisciplinary teams of artists, designers and makers, and engages schools, neighborhood stakeholders, and partners to develop a master plan, vision statement and theme that reflects the aspirations and goals shared by all stakeholders. Locating public art, design features and green space in a way that builds coherence within the site and extends into the spatial fabric of the community, Hersh offers people a chance to be leaders for positive change in their communities, rather than passive clients of public and nonprofit services. Restored Spaces works at the intersection of art and design, and has proven an effective way to educate and include audiences about important infrastructure improvements, frame and build dialogue, encourage buy-in for change, and increase long-term stewardship and utilization of public spaces.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is a public art organization in Philadelphia. Mural Arts unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. They carry out our mission by annually engaging more than 20,000 people in the creation of 50 public art projects, including 2,000 individuals enrolled in one of our three core programs—Art Education for Youth, Restorative Justice for inmates and those reentering society, and Porch Light for those in treatment for trauma, addiction, or mental illness. Through the liberating, joyful, and open context of artistic co-creation, Mural Arts galvanizes diverse constituencies, gives voice to myriad perspectives, enhances the built environment, and brings visibility to issues in a way that sparks changes in perception and policy.