Our Process

Transforming blank walls into sites of public dialogue.
A group of young women stand confidently in front of their anti-street harassment mural.

Each Groundswell project is unique. It could only have been made by a particular group of people in a particular moment in time, but all are created through the same collaborative process.


The process begins when a group of youth, teaching artists, and community organizations come together around a shared vision of social change.


Young women passionately discuss issues important to women's rights.


Tasked with a specific mission, each team of youth artists dives into intensive research on the topic of the mural. Through sessions that can include design jams, speaker presentations, and trips, the youth develop their own visual language for activism. Groundswell teaching artists integrate the youth’s ideas into a collective design that uplifts the contributions of all the team members.


A young artist points to a mural design as she explains the symbols to a community member.


Once an initial design is complete, young people share their work with community members for feedback. They return to the studio armed with this input to make sure their artwork speaks for the community where their mural will find its home.


A young woman smiles as she paints a vibrant mural.


Then fabrication begins, when the youth paint with the power of justice and equity in their every brushstroke. They learn the hands-on skills of mural-making as they transform walls and canvases into sites of public dialogue.


The impressive mural, "Respect is Not the Strongest Compliment," features an anti-catcalling messages.


The mural lives on as a testament to the artist teams’ visions for our collective liberation. But the conversation doesn’t end after the paint dries: each mural is an active invitation for community reflection. Through this process, we’ve seen again and again how public art can activate space and convert it into something extraordinary—inspiring revelation, hope, action, and change.