How Mural Art Benefits Cities & Communities

How Does Mural Art Benefit Cities & Communities

Last week I was asked to speak to a preschool class in my city as an example of a “Community Helper”.  I thought, “Really?  Me?  A mural artist?”  Surely, firefighters, detectives, and doctors save lives and are much more important in our society, but it got me thinking that yes, mural artists are community helpers too!  It may be more subtle and often taken for granted, but art is very important in public spaces in a number of ways.

  1. Mural art can attract tourism
    1. People may travel to see a famous artist’s mural
    2. Beautiful selfie walls, like standing in front of wings, may attract tourists
  2. Art can inspire change
  3. Collaborative mural projects where members of the community help paint can create a sense of city pride
  4. Public mural art can make spaces feel safer
  5. Murals can beautify public spaces
  6. Art can make people feel happy

Mural Art Improves & Makes Public Spaces Beautiful

Here is an example of a really rough and ugly wall turned into something colorful and bright.  Even the utility box and pipe are disguised by this mural painting.  The wall before was in really bad shape.  Yes, a plain coat of white paint could also be a huge improvement, but in this case, the colors and patterns made this drab parking lot even more beautiful and fun for patrons to local restaurants and bars.  Also serving as a city sign, this mural creates a warm welcome for visitors entering the city.   (Mural by Laura Lynne & Catalina Diaz and bottom photo by Vizo Arts)before and after photo of mural wall improvement to city

Public Art Uplifts and Inspires Change

Some public art is meant to inspire change.  Banksy’s art is a perfect example of art that is meant to draw attention to social issues, yet is still very beautiful.  Bordalo II uses scrap metal to create large scale animals using garbage to create beauty and draw attention to consumer waste.  Some art has words of encouragement and hope like the ones with inspirational quotes below.   
Turtle Mural by Green Line in Oak Park Illinoisinspiring bloom where you're planted quote mural in Aurora, ILmural illustration to bring awareness of domestic violence

  • “Be noble for you are made of stars.  Be humble for you are made of Earth” is a Serbian proverb.
  • “Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a mural I painted in the city where I live.  Every time I drive by it, I am reminded to be an even better community helper.  (Murals by Laura Lynne Art.)
  • “Soar” is a mural illustration I created to bring more awareness to my local domestic shelter.  It is located in a busy public walkway with information about how to contact the shelter.

Public Murals Can Make Spaces Feel Safer

black cat alley murals example of making a city space safer

Here is a photo of me visiting Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, WI.  This alley was painted with murals after an artist who lived nearby noticed a lot of crime happening in the alley way.  Now, the alley is a destination in the city painted with bright and colorful murals.  Many people come to visit the beautiful space in the daylight and night making the space feel safer by more people using it as a walkway.  Tourists are drawn to the alley as a unique destination in the city. (Murals pictured by Bunnie Riess and Emma Daisy.)  The alley recently added more lights and a community garden.

Mural Art Can Make People Feel Happy

Artists who have studied color theory know that certain colors provoke different emotions.  There is even a particular shade of pink that has been proven to make a person feel angry and even lower test scores.  Cool colors like blue, green and purple are calming and peaceful for most people.  Warm colors, like reds, yellows and oranges are exciting or evoke a sense of danger.  Stop signs and road construction signs are red and orange for this reason.  Certain symbols elevate people’s moods too.  Many people feel happy when they see animals and flowers.  Professionally trained mural artists use their skills and resources to create designs that can elevate your city.

Collaborative Mural Projects Create a Sense of City Pridecollaborative mural art painting creates city pride

When volunteers from the community are invited to help paint a public mural, it can create a huge sense of pride in the city.  Every time the person passes by the mural they remember the part they played to make their community more beautiful and fun.  They might remember the day they painted outside in the bright, warm sunshine.  Many people said it was very relaxing work which also might add a bit of art therapy as well.  Read more about collaborative mural painting projects here. (Photo by Vizo Arts.)

If you would like a free consultation for a mural in your home, office, coffee shop, or business please contact me at 208-991-2178 or email








7 thoughts on “How Mural Art Benefits Cities & Communities”

  1. When you mentioned how professionally trained mural artists use their knowledge and resources to produce works that can improve your city, I thought that was really interesting. This is crucial for my organization because we want to paint a mural to commemorate the event and have a celebration of our town. I’ll make sure to suggest that we hire a reputable mural artist for this in light of this article, thanks!

    1. Hi Elle! Good luck with your project! May I recommend asking your town to put out an RFQ instead of an RFP when you start looking for an artist? It’s really nice when the city narrows down their seach to 2-3 artists, then pays each artist for a color design and chooses from there. It’s very time consuming to research a concept and create a full color design just for an appliction.

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  3. I thought it was interesting to me when you talked about a mural can create a huge sense of pride for a city. I would imagine that some professional artists can be commissioned to create a mural for a city. A commissioned mural would probably be a good way to create a culturally unique thing for a city.

  4. Nathan Kamunye

    Hi Laura! I’m writing this all the way from Nairobi, Kenya in Africa. I’m so much fascinated by what you do. I currently do vehicle branding and i’m also a muralist. Have done murals for raising awareness about social issues. Am now about to work on boy-child empowerment murals.[ This is a long topic especially in this country, where boys have been excluded from gender equality agenda.] So, let’s continue being community helpers as you stated.

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