Art Builds Community, Community Creates Change

  • Participants concentrated on the role that art can play in community building, focusing on organizations that work in areas of social justice.
  • The team devoted much of its planning process to visiting social justice organizations and interviewing people committed to creating change across diverse fields. Here, a youth puts this research into motion with paint.
  • Splashes of paint across clothing is a common occurrence on site.
  • The team first painted the wall white, outlined with black, and then added in shaded colors. Details are added in last.
  • The completed version of the previous image. Pictured here, a teammember squeezes to fit under the ledge.
  • Voices Her’d paid homage to Andrea C. Bernal, a former participant who passed away in 2006. Andrea painted the original ‘Voices Her’d’ nameplate on the inaugural Voices Her’d mural, “I Dream, I Deal, I Do.” The team painted a similar motif in the hoop earring worn by the central figure here.

Project Description

As one of six projects in our Summer Leadership Institute, young women participating in Voices Her’d Visionaries painted a monumental mural exploring female empowerment, immigrant rights, and gender equality: a call to end discrimination in all forms. The mural was designed to show how, from night to day, through motion and connection, we can build community through the arts. The composition moves from right to left and includes large-scale figures of each Voices Her’d participant. Each figure is linked to the next by symbols that honor various human rights movements researched by the young women. The figures begin in a crouched position, their clothes filled with images of the night sky. The buildings on the back of the first figure depict a dense community that suffers from pollution. Bicycle riders move away from the polluted environment to a greener world. Figures are linked by circles and a scale to symbolize legal justice. A chain also weaves its way through the mural, representing the immigration process.

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Project Info

Location: 330 18th Street Brooklyn, NY 11215

Fun Facts

“The Groundswell artists taught me a lot and helped me develop a stronger interest in art. We have grown a lot in the last seven weeks.” – Voices Her’d Youth Participant
Legend Symbol
The ribbon. The ribbons in the mural represent different things based on their color. The rainbow ribbon shows solidarity with the LGBT community. As the ribbon climbs the wall, it changes from pink to red to show support for AIDS and breast cancer.
Question about the Mural
Not including the small figures in the background, how many women are featured in this mural?