The Northampton Arts Council is an organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Call to Artists: 2020 WMASS Community Mural Institute


The Community Mural Institute combines classroom instruction and experiential learning so that by the end of the Institute, artists can independently create and install exceptional community-engaged murals. The Institute teaches how to structure and facilitate community design and painting workshops, best practices for mural design, and how to create murals using the parachute cloth technique. 6 artists will be selected to participate in the Institute.

The Institute meets on three weekends over three months. Each artist will design, paint and install a 150 square foot community engaged mural over the course of the Institute. For this Institute, artists will be partnered with a pre-selected group of senior citizens. Artists must, without exception, be available to participate in all of the scheduled sessions.

Artists will be paid a stipend of $2,000 for their participation and all paint and materials will be provided.


JUNE 26 Artist Call is Opened

JULY 19 Artist Call Closed

JULY 24 Artist Notified of Selection

AUGUST 15 - 16 Session 1 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday)

AUGUST 24 - 30 Online One-on-One Design and Color Palette Consultations

SEPTEMBER 2 - 4 3 hour Design Projection sessions, day and time scheduled in advance.

SEPTEMBER 5 - 6 Session 2 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday. Note: This is Labor Day Weekend)

SEPTEMBER 26 - 27 Session 3 (9AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday)

SEPTEMBER 28 - 30 Hands-On Install and Overpainting Assistance Available

OCTOBER 4 Mural Installations must be completed

OCTOBER 17 - 18 If the above schedule is delayed due to Covid-19 surges, we will push back the schedule and Session 3 will be held this weekend.


Muralists are introduced to the concepts of community engaged mural making and learn multiple activities for engaging the community in design discussions. Concepts will be presented by the instructors and the group will engage in each activity so they are learning conceptually and through experience.

Artists will be taught two protocols for engaging the community. One protocol can be used if gatherings are permitted and safe. The other can be used if gatherings of any size are discouraged. In this approach, artists will solicit design input via guided phone calls with participating community members.


With support from the instructors, each muralist will engage their community group in design input. Each muralist will then create a design based on that input.


The muralists will consult with instructors via email and video conference while developing their designs. The muralist and instructors meet via video conference with representatives of their community group to present and obtain approval of their design.


In pre-scheduled 3 hour sessions, muralists will work in pairs to project their design on to pre-prepared parachute cloth.


Muralists learn to prep parachute cloth segments and prepare the mural for community painting. Two approaches will be taught. One will be how to prepare and run community paint parties. The second approach will be how to prepare and distribute individual mural painting kits which will allow participants to paint a segment of the mural in their homes, on their own.


Muralists hold paint parties or distribute painting kits to their community groups.


Muralists complete the painting of their mural at home or in their own studios.


Muralists learn and practice how to install parachute cloth murals, and organize community celebrations.


Working in pairs with another institute participant and with support from the instructors, the muralists install their murals on the wall and complete the overpainting of the mural. If allowed, a community celebration is organized for the completion of the mural.


The three weekend training sessions will take place in person, inside. All of the training sessions, meetings and mural work will follow the MA Coronavirus Safety Recommendations, including the size of gatherings, spacing of participants, and use of personal protective equipment. We have identified one additional weekend if we need to adjust or pause during the course of the Institute.


The Institute is designed and run by Greta McLain, the Artistic Director of GoodSpace Murals and Britt Ruhe, the Director of Common Wealth Murals.

Greta McLain, Owner and Artistic Director of GoodSpace Murals, has over 15 years of mural making experience. Greta uses muralism to explore the ways that art can bring communities together, the power of visual language to activate voice, and the potential of art as a vehicle for hands-on organizing and educating. She has been to South America and Europe to study new and traditional techniques. She has created over 50 projects in and around Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Argentina, Mexico, and France. Greta works out of Minneapolis and travels around the country/world muraling and teaching wherever community art can be activated as a tool for positive community engagement. She earned her BA from the University of California Davis and her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Britt Ruhe is the Director of Common Wealth Murals, a non-profit dedicated to uplifting and celebrating communities through mural art. For over 30 years, Britt has led non-profit organizations, applying her skills in community organizing, project management, fiscal management, and public relations to create transformative opportunities for people to work together to improve their own communities. Britt has a deep love and appreciation for graffiti and street art, and a passion for community-engaged mural making. Britt holds a BA in Community Development and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts. She is the Producer of Fresh Paint Springfield, a mural festival in Springfield MA, and manages individual mural installations for public and private organizations.


Artists will be selected to participate in the Institute based on the following criteria:

• Live, work or have a meaningful connection to Hampden County

• The artist contributes to diversity of the group in the following areas: artistic style, race, ethnicity, language, gender and sexual orientation

• Openness to having your art influenced by community input (as demonstrated by either prior experience or written expression of interest)

• Interest in innovative approaches to integrating community and location considerations in their designs

• Prior experience teaching, facilitating workshops or public speaking

• Is able and committed to attend all scheduled sessions

Preference given to artists with experience engaging the community in education, discussion and/or collaborative mural making.


• Please indicate whether or not you: Have your own transportation Are available for all of the scheduled dates Speak any language other than English (if yes, please list)

Applications must be emailed by July 19th at 5PM

Finalists will be asked to participate in a short phone interview with the instructors during the week July 20 - 24.

Artists will be notified of selections by July 24th.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Please email the following to

• The names, emails and phone numbers of 2 references who can speak to your artistic and/or professional experience

• 3 to 5 images of your artwork which best represent the style you would use for a community-engaged mural

• If you have them, please share links to your social media and/or a website which show your artwork

• A short personal statement (one paragraph) about your approach to your art

• One short paragraph which explains your experience with and/or interest in community-engaged murals

• Briefly describe any prior experience teaching, facilitating workshops or public speaking

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