We implement a cultural arts strategy for decolonizing public space and building our community stronger. We welcome everyone to be involved with Ithaca Murals while simultaneously prioritizing the leadership of artists of color, artists with jail experience, low income & working class artists, women, youth, the LGBTQAI+ community, and other artists of traditionally marginalized identity groups. We have this inclusion model to challenge Eurocentric patriarchal capitalism and because we recognize the well-being of all people is essential.
What would you like our cityscape to look like?
Watch out. This is an artist takeover. If you're lucky, your house could be next.
History In 2004, I met Ithaca community elder Gino Bush when he when he was working to make real an idea from Ithaca High School students to rename an Ithaca Street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. At that time, Ithaca's cultural landscape was dominated by streets, parks, and buildings named for (and by) privileged white men. We campaigned together with many others for City Hall to change State St.’s name. After four and a half years, State St. is now dual designated Martin Luther King Jr St. as a daily reminder to passersby of King’s life committed to justice.
This work of shifting our cultural cityscape to influence our community identity inspired me to organize murals. In 2008, I joined the City of Ithaca Public Art Commission, and soon after, spearheaded a mural contest which resulted in the Underground Railroad Mural on Green St right near the Ithaca Commons. This project was so successful, that the Board of Public Works gave the Public Art Commission their blessing to work with City Hall’s Planning Department and elected officials to bring many more murals to City infrastructure.
The City of Ithaca's Public Art Commission no longer exists, but Ithaca Murals continues to help transform our cultural cityscape, one wall at a time! Thanks to so many artists and organizers we’ve had an amazing surge in the number of murals on both public and privately owned walls.
In 2009 there were about 15 mural locations in Ithaca. Today in there are over 175 and the numbers are continuing to snowball.