The Big Picture: Why Murals Are Good for Communities

painting a wallMost communities might want for their walls to be plain and clean. But with mural painting, empty walls all over a community can be transformed into art of any graphic style.

Now, more and more communities around the world are seeing the positive impacts of this kind of art and start to favor colorful walls over empty canvases.

Here are some ways that murals contribute to a community:

Economic boost

Improving the aesthetics of the community might be the most obvious benefit of wall murals. This benefit is not only superficial, since community that pleases the eye would surely attract visitors, new residents, and even new businesses. Due to the increased traffic in their neighborhood, existing local businesses and tourism would also flourish, thus boosting the economy of their area.

Cleanliness and security

Murals could instill a sense of shared identity among locals. And since people would identify themselves with the murals of their community, they might be more inclined to keep their area clean. Since people would be looking after and looking at the mural, it may also discourage crime in the vicinity, such as vandalism, drug use, robbery and illegal dumping.

Youth development

Many cities promote youth development and youth-led programs through art, particularly by mural painting. Art programs could foster engagement and positive social and academic outcomes for at-risk youth as well. Schools are also known incorporate mural initiatives in their curricula.

Public-private partnerships

Whether a mural was completely hand-painted or required large format printing services, it would not be completed with only a single party involved. A number of private and public parties are usually involved in community mural painting, such as artists, small local businesses, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and local governments. Because a community mural is a project that requires collaborative creative engagement, these parties are likely to form a positive connection.

Therapy

Hospitals are already using public art as a form of therapy. Studies show that patients exhibit less anxiety, lower pain levels and faster healing after medical procedures when their surroundings incorporate various art forms, such as murals.

Perhaps, art therapy through murals is also applicable for residents who are physically or mentally ill and could provide a breather or stress relief for those who need to unwind.

Social awareness

spray painting

Murals can encourage thought and create dialogue around the subject it depicts. This can be especially beneficial for issues in the community that need public attention.

These issues are not just limited to local ones, as the murals could portray global struggles as well. An example of this is the Whaling Walls project by the American artist, Wyland, which is a series of murals illustrating life-sized whales that are painted on walls across the globe. This project can help people appreciate the oceans, and, in turn, make them want to protect the marine life that live there.

Tell the community’s story

What makes murals so effective in fostering unity is how it can tell the story of the locale. Most murals are depictions of an area’s culture and people, and can even showcase the history of the community. Having a mural that illustrates the story of a community can help preserve the intangible qualities of an area.

Any form of art that is shared by a community has its own unique benefit. But since murals can be very prominent, they make for an extremely effective and beneficial medium in bettering a community.