If you’d like to be part of the MuralsDC effort, send us an email at

MuralsDC is a partnership between the District’s Department of Public Works, the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities, and Words Beats & Life. Initiated in 2007 by Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, the project has resulted in the creation of over thirty murals that reflect the character, culture, and history of neighborhoods in the District, particularly in areas with high incidents of illegal graffiti.

MuralsDC aims to help replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to revitalize sites within the community, and to teach young people the art of aerosol painting. The goal of this initiative is to positively impact the District’s youth by providing them with the resources they need to engage in this project. By offering them instruction in proper technique, the supplies they need, and spaces to legally practice and perform their developing skills, the MuralsDC project promotes respect for public and private property as well as community awareness for the young people we work with.

The Process

MuralsDC is a collaborative program where Words Beats & Life and the Department of Public Works leads a collaborative process with community residents, property owners, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create murals that reflect the character of a community. Here’s how we do it:

1. Identifying the mural site.
  DPW selects sites that are often nominated because of frequent targets of illegal vandalism. Sites are selected based on nominations by property/business owners and community residents with permission from property owners.

2. Involving the community.
  Community involvement is usually at the development and selection phases of each project.  Community support of a mural is what ensures the success of this program.  Words Beats & Life engages in community outreach to gather suggestions and ideas that are then given to the artists to develop mural designs at ANC meeting and civic association meetings.

3. Designing mural options.
  The artist creates two to three full color renderings of the design based on community and property owner input, which are then presented at a selection committee meeting where final designs are selected.

4. Choosing a Design:  A representative of the property, usually the owner, and community members, usually an ANC Representative and/or Community Representative, review designs. The designs are then voted on by these groups, along with staff members from the Department of Public Works, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Words Beats & Life staff.

5. Setting a date. (When requested)
 A date for the mural workshop for community youth, when requested, and a start date for painting is chosen. Property owners are encouraged to post this information along with the final design at the property to alert residents that a new piece of public art is being created in their community.  Where possible 250 4×6 fliers are given to the property owner to give out to customers, neighbors and local residents. This information is also available online at

6. Creating the mural.
  Artists lead an on-site mural creation workshop for Fine Lines Apprentices to participate in as they prepare to assist the Master Artist in the creation of the mural.



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