Murals on a Mission

Murals on a Mission: New Kensington is a project designed to energize the community of New Kensington, Pennsylvania through high-impact public art. The partnership harnessesthe power of large-scale, text-based murals to enhance the visibility of the city, create a sense of place—and bring color, vibrancy, and new character to the urban environment.

About Murals on a Mission

In the spring of 2020, Rivers of Steel joined a group of passionate business and community partners from the City of New Kensington, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The group came together to discuss a vision for the future of their community—and the role public art might play. Inspired by the work of numerous independent murals recently created in the city center, these partners conceived of a strategy to increase this density of public art and support the city’s effort to reimagine its downtown.

The collective effort, entitled Murals on a Mission: New Kensington, steadily gathered momentum throughout 2020 – 2021, catalyzed by important seed funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The community partners engaged Rivers of Steel’s Graffiti Arts program as a regional leader in the field to help steward this project and yield a successful model demonstrating the power of graffiti style-writing as a tool for creative placemaking. Since the project began, eight large-scale murals have been established in close proximity to the city’s Corridor of Innovation. This created a colorful and energetic outdoor experience that supports and enhances existing economic development efforts, which are currently underway at both the county and district levels.

Read about how this project celebrating community connections will have a statewide impact.

While the postive impact on the City of New Kensington was one of the primary objectives of this initative, creating a road map for how this project may be replicated in other communities was also a planned outcome.  Click here to download a copy of the Murals on a Mission: New Kensington Community Toolkit.

The long-term vision for this project includes expanded mural formats, visiting artists programs, interactive technological experiences, and community-driven events that bring people to downtown New Kensington for educational experiences. Rivers of Steel remains a committed partner in the effort to reimagine the future of New Kensington. The organization will continue to work with the project team to bring new, creative programs to the city as an extension of its mission to serve the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

Sustained economic growth and success for New Kensington requires long-term investment and a vision that inspires the existing community, while attracting renewed interest from those outside the city. The Murals on a Mission: New Kensington team views the success of this public art project as an opportunity to harness these eighteen months of momentum and continue to advocate for future investment in the community’s arts and entertainment assets, new and old.

Stay up to date with this project by following it on Facebook or tracking the hashtag #MuralsOnAMission on Instagram.

Learn more about the events

such as tours, workshops, and festivals happening at each unique attraction.