The Milwaukee Mural Map was inspired by Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP). Philadelphia has more murals than any other city in the U.S., many of which were created through MAP’s award winning Restorative Justice Program in which the offenders of crimes work together with the families and friends of their victims to discuss the impact the crime, prison sentence, and time has had on them. After many sessions of therapeutic discussion, both parties come together to create a mural that expresses and depicts their mutual and personal thoughts, feelings, and hopes. These murals, along with many others, speckle the streets and skyline of Philadelphia to serve as a constant reminder of the importance of community to the peoples of Phila.
Mural Arts Philadelphia offers trolley tours, during which an experienced guide tells the tales behind the numerous murals while sharing information about the neighborhoods in which they are placed and how the murals have affected their environments.
Check out their website for more information: http://www.muralarts.org
The creator of the Milwaukee Mural Map went on a MAP mural tour in 2013 while she was attending graduate school in New Jersey and was determined afterward to do something similar with murals in her hometown of Milwaukee. She knew that Milwaukee had many murals but was disappointed that there did not exist anywhere a comprehensive source of information, and information about the murals was incredibly hard to find. In many cases information was absent altogether, lost to history long forgotten. When information did exist it was spread across many sources and in minuscule bits and pieces. So in June of 2014, after she had moved back to Milwaukee and was working as a community organizer in the city, she decided to start a project to compile as much information about Milwaukee’s murals as possible in the form of an easy-to-use map that included photos and background information.
The purpose of having such a map is to shine light upon the talent and passion of Milwaukee’s residents and to showcase the positive side of Milwaukee through its people. By visiting Milwaukee’s murals and by learning the stories behind them, the creator of the Map hopes that visitors will feel a little more connected with Milwaukee’s communities and people and will want to get to know Milwaukee even more. It is also a way to archive Milwaukee’s stories, as too much has already been lost.
The Milwaukee Mural Map is not a nonprofit and the creator has no intention of making it such. However, if someone wanted to use the information on the Map and website to create something greater, she would fully encourage them to do so.