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CITYarts: Beautifying Communities and Empowering Kids in NYC

In a city filled with beautiful architecture, art, and parks, there are just as many public spaces that need a little love. All New Yorkers notice places in our neighborhoods—whether on the drab walls of a public school or the peeling paint of a forgotten building—that could use a new coat of paint and some bright color. Enter CITYarts. This New York non-profit partners with community organizations, kids, and professional artists to create public murals and mosaics throughout New York City and the world.

CITYArts

Youth at work on Harlem Peace Wall mosaic restoration, 2018.

Founded by Tsipi Ben-Haim in 1989, CITYarts has helped bring 329 murals to life, empowering over 200,000 kids through creativity and collaboration. Through their participation, kids learn about self-expression, teamwork, community engagement, and how to make art! On the CITYarts site, Ben-Haim expresses the peaceful mission of the organization this way: “I strongly believe that when kids create they do not destroy.” 

CITYArts

CITYarts’ NYC murals can be seen from Tribeca to Harlem, indoors and out, and are designed to beautify communities and express the friendship that helped bring them about. Check out the CITYarts photo gallery here to see these murals for yourself! 

Not only is CITYarts firmly planted in New York City, but its scope extends worldwide. The organization has worked in 81 countries and created Peace Walls in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and Karachi, Pakistan with local youth. Its Pieces for Peace initiative invites anyone and everyone to create artwork that expresses peace and submit their work to CITYarts. Their online exhibition showcases these Pieces for Peace, and there is a traveling exhibition that shows actual Pieces of Peace in international communities. 

How to Get Involved

CITYarts invites you to volunteer, create, and donate in support of its ongoing projects. If you or your organization would like to help create a mural, fill out this simple form to get started. In addition to creating murals, young people can pursue internships with CITYarts or participate in Windows of Opportunity for those interested in further developing their artistic gifts. 

CITYArts

Youth at work on Following in the Footsteps of Alexander Hamilton mural, 2019.

You can also purchase goods that help support CITYarts’ mission. The organization has recently partnered with Global Goods Partners, a not-for-profit that helps create jobs for women around the world. Until August 18, CITYarts is auctioning items donated by GGP, created by female artisans. Proceeds will benefit CITYarts. Bid on items here. Or visit the CITYarts online store to purchase scarves, coasters, cards, and more inspired by various Pieces for Peace. 

You can also support CITYarts projects through donating! Each new project requires the help of generous people who, through their gifts, ensure the art transforms from a dream into a reality. Make your community beautiful and spread peace through CITYarts!


To donate and find out more, visit CITYarts at CITYarts.org. Contact the organization via email at info@cityarts, or by phone at 212-966-0377.  

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. The recipient of a BA in English and an MFA in Writing, Merrill Lee teaches English to college students and lives in Brooklyn.

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