Working with the Community


A successful mural project has a strong neighborhood component.

One of the most effective ways to engage youth is to help them forge strong connections with their neighborhoods. Helping to beautify their neighborhoods through the creation of murals instills a sense of pride in the participants. Many of Madison’s neighborhoods are pleasant, walkable areas – such as our own Willy Street neighborhood. Others, though, are sadly devoid of art or much that is humanizing. Our hope was to change that for as many neighborhoods as possible.

Youth can participate in mural projects all over the city – and meet and work with youth from different neighborhoods. Some of the most meaningful work will be done right in one’s own back yard.

It is important to address concerns of the longevity of its murals.

Do your research! Create murals that are designed to last as long as possible. Work with your city arts administrator to determine reasonable expectations for the life of each work that is created and build maintenance plans into each project.

Forge partnerships. Local. Regional. National. International.

 Williamson St Art Center forged partnerships with all community organizations possible –  Centro Hispano, Family Centers, Omega School, the Urban League, United Way of Dane County, Madison Community Foundation, Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, Madison Arts Commission, Wisconsin Arts Board, Arts Wisconsin, MG&E, University of Wisconsin School of Education, University of Wisconsin Art Department, et cetera.

We visited mural programs in various parts of the country. These national programs graciously served as sources of information and inspiration,  as we developed programming to serve Madison’s own particular needs.