The New York City Mural Arts Project (NYC MAP) fosters community building and aims to destigmatize mental illness through a collaborative mural making process. NYC MAP brings together mental health consumers, artists, community-based organizations, mental health practitioners and the community at large to discuss mental illness and its perceptions. Together we translate our conversations into a visual narrative so each mural reflects the diversity and strength of individuals living with mental illness and their communities.
We recognize that a person’s mental health cannot depend solely on medical care, but is strengthened through communal support and open dialogue with family, friends, and neighbors. We also know that a community’s health is enhanced by improving social relationships and expanding social networks. We aim to address stigma towards people living with mental illness, and rethink our perceptions of mental illness in our communities. Our goals are to support the following groups:
1. Community Based Organizations
Community Based Organizations—local providers of mental health services—are our anchor in the community and the launch point to engage residents and additional local organizations. Through our collaboration, we aim to support their organizational goals, increase their presence in a community, and provide opportunities to share their work with all New Yorkers.
2. Mental Health Consumers
Mental Health Consumers—individuals obtaining treatment or support for a mental illness or addiction—live, work, and thrive in our communities. Our workshops, community engagement events, and the mural design process, offer a platform to share their lived experiences, capabilities, and skills with the rest of the community.
3. The Community
The Community—its families, residents, and workers—ground our project in a neighborhood, ensuring the murals are for and by the communities we work with. By supporting local arts and reimagining what mental illness looks like, community members give their neighborhood a mural that represents who they are. It’s a lasting reminder of the work we can do together.
In New York City, one in five adults experiences a mental health disorder in any given year. Creating opportunities to address the stigma of mental illness is crucial to improve the health of individuals and the health of New York City’s communities. We need to better understand mental illness, the ways perceptions affect individual lives, and how to create more vibrant and empathetic communities.
Learn more about our work and upcoming events in your neighborhood.
To learn more about the project please contact us at: