Bridging Transformation

  • "Bridging Transformation" focuses on the themes of rebirth and recovery, with an emphasis on positive imagery.
  • Details from the team's early brainstorming sessions and design sketches.
  • A community painting day engaged neighborhood residents, including New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera.
  • Stakeholders from throughout New York City came together to celebrate the unveiling of the mural.
  • The team signed a sketch of the mural as a gift to the Lead and Assistant Artists.
  • In the mural, there are depictions of mathematic formulas along with sacred geometry representing both knowledge and the universal language of math.

Project Description

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. Through an intensive six-week workshop, 21 VIP Community Services adult clients worked with Lead Artist Marc Evan and Assistant Artist Raul Ayala to create the multi-story mural for VIP’s state-of-the-art residential facility The Laura Parsons Residence for Men. In support of the recovery-based treatment program provided by VIP Community Services and its New York State partner the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Groundswell collaborated with recruited volunteers at the facility to leverage the artmaking process as a catalyst for healing and self-discovery.
The research period started with a field trip to the American Folk Art Museum. Facilitated by Evan and Ayala, the project team explored the definition of hero through the lenses of mythological and historical symbolism. Inspired by the self-taught artists featured in the exhibition “Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum,” the project team set out to capture the rich ideas and themes which emerged from its discussions. With an explosion of ideas, the mural celebrates the power of the mind. A collage of symbols harmoniously becomes the design’s focal point, illustrating how many minds cohesively become one. For example, a turtle representing longevity is balanced by a whale symbolizing the aspiration to dream and achieve grand initiatives. Two reptiles – connecting the bottom part of the mural with the explosion of ideas on the top – represent the concept of rebirth. 

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Project Info

Location: 764 East 176th Street Bronx, NY 10460

Summer Leadership Institute

Health and Wellness


VIP Community Services

Lead Artist(s):
Marc Evan

Assistant Artist(s):
Raúl Ayala



21 VIP Community Services clients
Acrylic on Wall

Dimensions: 32 x 68ft

Fun Facts

“The museum visit became the foundation for our discussion and design. As a group, we tapped into the process of how symbols create meaning. We put together a collage of imagery, brainstormed by the group together." - Adult Participant
Question about the Mural
There are 3 formulas represented in this mural. Do you know what they are?
Fun Fact
VIP Community Services was founded by a Catholic priest 40 years ago. VIP stands for "Vocational Instruction Project."