Explain that murals are monumental works of art generally created for a particular purpose and placed in a specific setting. Discuss the concept of belonging: what does
it mean to “belong” somewhere? Have students consider
what it takes to be part of a group or setting. Why is it
important to belong?
Present the four main mural images and have students describe what they see. Help students identify
significant visual differences in the details of the works,
such as the realistic imagery of Common Threads, the
abstract line quality of Zombie Proof, the organic patterns of Kindness Corridor, and the vibrant visual balance of Hope, Strength, Love and Faith. Consider the
materials, subject matter and settings of each mural.
What are the similarities? Do the murals “belong” where
they are placed? Why or why not? Would they be as successful in another setting? Why or why not?
had students from two area high schools pose in modern
dress echoing the figures to draw comparisons. What are
other similarities? What are some differences?
Look at the other images from Philadelphia Mural
Arts Program. What are some of the common themes in
the imagery? Have students discuss the historical and
social significance of the imagery. What connections can
be made between the imagery and students’ own experiences?
Give students the opportunity to discuss the concept
of belonging. What decisions have they had to make on
both a personal and a universal level in
order to “belong” to a particular group or fit
into a specific setting? Were those actions
positive? Would they make the same decisions again?
Have students examine the imagery of the contemporary individuals and the antique figurines of
Common Threads by Meg Saligman. Consider the title and
composition of the piece. Explain that the artist noticed
that her students’ elaborate hairdos resembled those of
the French figurines collected by her grandmother. She
Explain that murals are frequently massive, unique, public artworks, designed for a singular environment, yet
they often represent universal themes. It can take years
to develop and complete a mural project, with many individuals and even corporations involved in the process.
Discuss why it is critical, from a social and cultural perspective, to encourage collaboration among members of
the community when creating a monumental piece of art
that will represent and/or influence them.
Have students consider how each of the four main
murals may represent the particular com-
munity in which it is placed. How does
the mural connect to the community?
Why is it important to have the commu-
nity involved in all stages of mural development and pro-
duction? How does collaboration and cooperation fit into
the concept of belonging?
Consider too, the impact on the participants, the environment, and the audience over time. For example, how
does the work of Michael Townsend support or contradict this impact?
“Art Saves Lives”