Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $250,000)
Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates (dba Mural Arts Philadelphia) will provide Restorative Justice programs for justice-challenged individuals in the City of Philadelphia. They offer both a co-ed Guild program, founded in 2008, and the more recent Women’s Guild, which addresses the unique concerns and challenges of justice-involved women. The Guild is a paid apprenticeship program that provides a supportive, arts-based learning environment where participants build job-readiness and other practical skills through training with professional instructors, assisting with community public art and revitalization projects, and receiving mentorship from employment specialists, social workers, and peers. The program was developed in response to data showing that incarceration and its effects—most importantly, difficulty securing employment—exacerbate crime, poverty, and inequity. With The Guild and the newly-created Women’s Guild, Mural Arts has demonstrated that providing paid work opportunities and supporting justice-involved individuals in finding and keeping employment is one of the most effective ways to reduce recidivism and improve health and safety in communities that are disproportionately affected by crime and incarceration.