The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Call For Apprentices: The Fresh Paint Springfield 2021 Community Muralist Apprentice Program

WHAT: Call For Apprentices: The Fresh Paint Springfield 2021 Community Muralist Apprentice Program 
WHEN: Apply by April 23, 2021
WHERE: Springfield, MA

More Information:

Are you looking to get new community mural skills? Interested in the parachute cloth mural technique? We are seeking 10 apprentices to work with and support the muralists of Fresh Paint Springfield 2021.

In Western Mass and across the US, the demand for professional community murals is growing. Communities have learned that murals are powerful tools for spurring economic activity and building community. Many small businesses, local non-profits and grassroots community organizations are actively seeking muralists to create distinctive large-format works of public art. Even better, there is a widely held expectation in these communities that murals will be done in a way that involves the community in the design and painting process.

Apply to be a paid apprentice and learn the skills to do this while networking with muralists from across the country!

This year’s Fresh Paint Mural Festival is using the community-engaged parachute cloth mural method for parts of each of its murals. We have spots for 10 local artists to participate in the festival as Apprentices. As an Apprentice, you will receive training and the opportunity to practice parachute cloth mural prep and installation, and community engagement through paint parties.


10 local artists and early-career muralists will be selected for an apprenticeship program during FPS2021 to learn the processes and techniques of parachute cloth community muralism. The apprentices will work under the guidance of Greta McLain, one of the leading community parachute cloth muralists in the US, who will run the apprentice program. By the end of the training, Apprentices will be able to independently plan, design, and install high quality community-engaged parachute cloth murals.

Parachute cloth murals are not painted directly onto the wall. In the parachute cloth mural technique, murals start with facilitated community gatherings to identify themes, ideas and images that resonate with the group. The muralist takes these ideas and designs the mural which is then projected onto specially prepared parachute cloth sheets, creating a giant paint-by-numbers. The parachute cloth sheets are brought out into the community for “paint parties” where any- and everyone can help paint. The muralist then does the detail work and overpainting, before the mural is permanently installed on the wall. There are no muralists in MA trained in this technique.

As Fresh Paint Springfield Apprentices, you will have the opportunity to work and build relationships with professional muralists from across the US. You will be trained from start to finish in the parachute cloth mural technique. You will be doing visible, front-line work during Fresh Paint Springfield, a high-profile event that is covered widely in the media with stories viewed by more than 1.5 million people.  

Apprentices will be paid a stipend of $1,350 for their participation.


• Have prior experience (preferred) or interest in painting murals and/or large scale work. • Are interested in working with muralists and supporting their artistic process. • Are comfortable talking, working with, and guiding groups of people you don’t know.

• After completing the Apprentice Program, are committed to independently pursuing local opportunities to create more community-engaged murals.

• Are able to work long days (often 10 hours) doing physical labor when installing. • Are able to safely lift 20 lbs


• Prep parachute cloth segments and prepare a mural for community painting. • Run community paint parties.

• Install parachute cloth murals.


April 4 Artist Call is Opened
April 23 Artist Call Closed
April 30 Artist Notified of Selection
June 2 - 4 3 Days of Instruction and Training
June 5 Muralist Orientation and meetings with Apprentices
June 6 - 13 Fresh Paint Springfield Festival.

Each Apprentice will work 2 half days running community paint parties, and 4 full days installing. The exact schedule for each Apprentice will be determined in late May so applicants should hold open all of these days until scheduled.


The Apprenticeship Program 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 Apprenticeship Program based on the following criteria:

• Has experience or interest in engaging the community in education, discussion and/or collaborative mural making.

• Have prior experience making murals (preferred) or large-scale paintings. • Live, work or have a meaningful connection to Hampden County.

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

• Is able and committed to attend all scheduled sessions.

To apply, 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 represents the style you would use for a mural

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

• One short paragraph personal statement about your approach to your artwork

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

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

• Briefly indicate how you will contribute to the diversity of the group. 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 April 23, 2021 by 5pm.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Coronavirus Safety
All of the training and much of the prep work will take place inside a large warehouse. Apprentices will be required to wear masks at all times, when in training, when running paint parties and when installing. Please note that, while outside working at the paint parties and installations, you will not be able to always maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

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