Portola District's multi-mural community art project builds long-lasting relationships through murals

SAN FRANCISCO -- Public art brings people together and connects communities. Many neighborhoods in San Francisco have turned to murals to help beautify and bring pride to spaces.

The Portola District in San Francisco started a multi-mural art project to unify the area. The two-year project has built relationships between neighbors and businesses through beautiful works of art. The murals reflect the diverse multilingual community that is represented in the neighborhood.

The purpose of the project was for everyone in the community to come together and present ideas and for all voices to be heard.

"Communicating ideas that go across language barriers, cultural barriers, economic barriers really felt like the perfect way to bring people together around something that's beautiful," said Alex Hobbs of Portola Neighborhood Association.

A lot of communication and creativity was involved to pull off this project, but so was teamwork.

"We solicited building owners to agree to a mural being installed on their buildings. We asked volunteers from the community to serve on a jury to vet the over 30 art proposals that we received," said Lia Smith of Portola Neighborhood Association. "And then we took a group of finalists to the community and asked them to vote on what they thought should be installed. The artists were supported by their family and friends and volunteers."

There are many benefits to having murals on buildings, as this artwork fosters community pride and attracts new people to the area.

Smith adds, "Every single person can say, yeah, I was part of that. And that's why art creates community because it's not just one person. It's not just that single artist with some singular vision. It's actually everyone supporting this creation."

The first phase of the project is complete, but the artists hope to continue with additional phases as more funding comes through. Learn how you can support the multi-mural project by visiting this website.