Amplifying youth voices for community transformation.
A reporter interview a youth artist in front of a mural.

Groundswell is a social justice organization that uses the arts as a vehicle to promote youth development and empowerment. The nonprofit was founded in 1996 by a group of New York City artists, educators, and activists with the belief that art creates community, and community creates change. 

For more information about Groundswell's programs, events, or projects, reach out to or 718-254-9782. 

In the News

  • November 19, 2020

    5 Art Accounts to Follow on Instagram Now

    The New York Times - "A look at a photographer who follows graffiti artists, a student chronicling Black art, a collective devoted to social justice and more."

  • October 14, 2020


    BSA (Brooklyn Street Art) - "Steering away from potentially inflammatory political content or street beef of the past on this high-profile wall with a New York street art/graffiti history, the current occupants of the Houston Bowery Wall are more focuses on allegory, and community. Featuring a fleet of volunteers and a mural full of history and aspiration, Raul Ayala thinks of this wall as a teachable moment. The artist employed many of the 21 days that this mural took to complete to do just that: teach."

  • October 7, 2020

    Artist Raúl Ayala and Students Paint Empowering Mural on Iconic Houston Bowery Wall

    HYPEBEAST - "Anyone venturing to Lower Manhattan in New York City will come across a sprawling, vivid new mural at the historic Houston Bowery Wall. Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts connected with NY-based organization Groundswell to plan the collaborative mural led by teaching artist Raúl Ayala. Founded in 1996, Groundswell brings together youth, artists, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change."

Press Releases

  • July 30, 2018

    Art Meets Social Change at Groundswell

    Summer was coming, and Kevin Rijo was looking for a job. He knew that he could find one through the Summer Youth Employment Program, but there was a problem. “All the regular jobs — caretakers, counselors, retail — were all taken,” said Rijo, “so I thought I was going to be broke the entire summer. However, I was passed a paper with ‘Groundswell’ printed on it, and decided that I had nothing to lose trying something different. The rest is history.”

  • July 24, 2018

    New mural coming to Sunset Park's Bush Terminal

    Angel Garcia, the Groundswell lead artist and a Sunset Park resident, will spearhead the design of the mural, whose theme will be accessing the waterfront, both the working waterfront and also its natural beauty.

  • July 23, 2018

    Art in the Face of Gentrification

    How organizations are using art and artists to empower and engage New York City residents in the wake of change.