Talking Transition

  • A completed Talking Transition panel.
  • Groundswell youth led a workshop inside the Talking Transition tent for families and young people to kick off the mural design process.
  • Throughout the two-week event, visitors to the tent shared their ideas and suggestions for a better New York City for all residents.
  • Groundswell youth pause in the painting of the mural for a photograph.
  • Groundswell youth artists incorporate feedback from workshop participants into the mural design.
  • The second panel in the Talking Transition set.

Project Description

For two weeks in November of 2013, an enormous white tent was erected at the corner of Varick and Canal Streets in downtown Manhattan as part of a pioneering civic forum under the name “Talking Transition” to open up a discussion on the future of New York City as it elects its new mayor, Bill de Blasio. As part of Talking Transition, Groundswell led a two-week collaborative mural design process. This process enabled Groundswell to engage a broad segment of New Yorkers in envisioning how art and culture can help create a better city for all New Yorkers. The process kicked off with a youth-led artmaking workshop. Through hands-on artmaking, families and young people were invited to contribute their ideas and visions for how they would like to see art used as a tool for positive tranformation in their communities. 


Using the drawings, poems, and ideas generated during this workshop as a springboard, Groundswell youth artists created two mural design sketches. The mural design and painting process was transparent and open to the public, offering another opportunity for visitors to the tent to contribute their input. In the murals, a more equitable New York City is literally painted into existence through the collective work of artists, activists, youth, nonprofit organizations, and city agencies. When finished, the mural panels were installed permanently at the Brooklyn Community Foundation's main office.


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Project Info

Location: Canal Street and 6th Avenue New York, NY 10013

Fun Facts

Question about the Mural
What role do you think arts and culture should play in creating a more just and equitable New York City?
Fun Fact
Bill de Blasio will be the first new mayor of New York City in twelve years, following Michael Bloomberg.
During the transition, Groundswell helped create "Arts and Culture for a Just and Equitable City." Signed by over one hundred leaders from across sectors, the Brief outlines how arts and culture can play a role in achieving the One City Rising platform.