SIAP's report represents a first attempt to assess the impact of the City of Philadelphia's mural arts program—initiated in 1984 under the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network--on the city's neighborhoods. The need for an impact assessment grew out of the changing character of the Mural Arts Program (MAP) since its move in 1996 from the Office of the Mayor of Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.
The study, undertaken from 2000 to 2002, incorporated a variety of methods. SIAP used data on the location of murals to assess whether the density of murals was related to other characteristics of a neighborhood. The team developed a detailed mural production database to examine the nature of community involvement in MAP's process. Finally, based on a method developed by Penn colleague, Ram Cnaan, Director of the Program for the Study of Organized Religion and Social Work, SIAP developed a "community leveraging model" to estimate the community contribution to the production of murals.
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is an established public program with a nonprofit arm and substantial private support. The program is in a strong position to serve a range of constituencies—neighborhoods, young people, and artists—and to connect these often isolated and vulnerable groups. Thus MAP holds a unique opportunity as a bridging institution—to mobilize networks and to connect grassroots and community organizations with regional resources, government agencies, and private grant-makers. SIAP concludes that therein lies its greatest potential to benefit Philadelphia communities.
Submissions from 2003
An Assessment of Community Impact of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program, Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert