Groundswell Artist

Raúl Ayala

Raul Ayala is visual artist and educator focused on community mural production, drawing, public art and illustration encompassing themes related to justice, memory, immigration, and resilience. He has exhibited in different contexts and countries. He also works in collaboration with art collectives in New York City and Quito. Raul has co-founded Cooperativa Cultural 19 de enero (CC1/19), an art and oral history collaboration, and People's Collective Arts , a group that facilitates visual, performance, and new media art for use in public interventions. He was invited to the 2017 Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi, and is the recipient of  the 2016 Artist as Activist Residency of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the 2015 Create Change Commissions Artist award of The Laundromat Project, and the 2014 Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artist of the New York Foundation for the Arts.


  • Project | 2016

    Be Present

    The traffic safety banner residency program, sponsored by NYC DOT Safety Education in collaboration with the Groundswell Community Mural Project, engaged New York City 6th 8th grade students in...
  • Project | 2016

    The Fall of Oppression

    This summer, a team of young men of color created a mural encouraging and inspiring their peers to know their value and know their rights. With an approach centered on personal narratives and storytelling, the team challenged notions of identity to break cycles of inequity facing young men of color today.
  • Project | 2016

    A Welcoming Celebration

    The second mural created by Groundswell for the Jacob A. Riis Settlement House, the artists on the team wanted to create awareness of the diverse communities living in Queensbridge Houses. The team created a piece that uses many cultural references and languages to make people feel welcome to the community center.
  • Project | 2016

    We Elevate Ourselves

    We Elevate Ourselves, the first mural installed in the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement Community Center at Queensbridge Houses, promotes peaceful conflict resolution as a method to combat gun violence. The young artists goal was to depict the complex emotional transformation that occurs as a result of peaceful conflict resolution.
  • Project | 2016

    Cypress Hills Fights for Food Justice

    Cypress Hills Fights for Food Justice is a compelling piece that addresses the issues of food justice in the Cypress Hills community. The mural informs the students of the dangers of sugar in...
  • Project | 2015

    The Crossroads / La Encrucijada

    In collaboration with the NYC DOT and Bogopa Service Corporation, Groundswell youth artists served as ambassadors for safer streets by creating a 2,000-square foot collaborative mural that seeks to...
  • Project | 2015

    Jaguar’s Quest

    First opened in 2006, West Brooklyn Community High School is a transfer school that has enabled hundreds of students to graduate and developed lasting relationships with a once resistant neighborho...
  • Project | 2014

    Bridging Transformation

    Groundswell engaged VIP Community Services adult clients in the research, design, and creation of a large-scale mural to generate public awareness around the complex issue of chemical dependency. T...
  • Project | 2015

    Mapping Aspirations

    Groundswell worked in collaboration with Rikers Saturday Academy to create a mural inspired by the Nelson Mandela quote: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”