The Process

Murals DC works together with communities, property owners, and the District to create murals that reflect the character of a community. Here’s how we do it:

1. Identifying the Mural Site

  • The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) submits a “Call for Walls” (provide link to Call here) at the start of each year. During this call, and all year long, commercial property owners are invited to submit an application (provide link to application here) to have a wall on their District property considered for a mural.
  • MuralsDC typically selects sites which are frequent targets of illegal graffiti or are at risk for graffiti. Selected sites are either commercial or public property and are selected based on the size and condition of the wall and visibility to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic.
  • Once a wall is selected, the property owner must submit a signed “Authorization and Release” form. Residents are also encouraged to speak to owners of commercial or public property in their community that they think would benefit from a mural and to encourage them to apply.
  • Walls that would require the artist to access adjacent property in order to paint require written consent from the owner of that property before it can be approved for selection.

2. Involving the Community

  • Community involvement in the development of a mural is instrumental to the success of this project.
  • Once a wall has been selected, Murals DC representatives attend the Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting for the Single Member District in which the property is located to let residents know about the plans for the development of the mural.
  • MuralsDC uses this opportunity to gather suggestions and ideas that are then given to the artists to develop mural designs.

3. Artist Selection

  • The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) submits a “Call for Walls” (provide link to Call here) at the start of each year. During this call, and all year long, commercial property owners are invited to submit an application (provide link to application here) to have a wall on their District property considered for a mural.
  • MuralsDC typically selects sites which are frequent targets of illegal graffiti or are at risk for graffiti. Selected sites are either commercial or public property and are selected based on the size and condition of the wall and visibility to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic.
  • Once a wall is selected, the property owner must submit a signed “Authorization and Release” form. Residents are also encouraged to speak to owners of commercial or public property in their community that they think would benefit from a mural and to encourage them to apply.
  • Walls that would require the artist to access adjacent property in order to paint require written consent from the owner of that property before it can be approved for selection.
  • DPW works with the Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to issue a “Call for Artists” (visit dcarts.dc.gov) each spring.
  • Artists are given several weeks to submit their application and portfolio of work.
  • MuralsDC looks for seasoned muralists who have executed large-scale designs on concrete and brick surfaces using aerosol paint as their ideal medium.
  • Artists are selected based on the quality of their work and experience.

4. Design Review

  • The artist creates two to three full color renderings of the design, incorporating any owner or community feedback to some degree.
  • DPW and DCCAH share the designs with the property owner or representative.
  • The artist will incorporate any revisions in his or her final rendering.

5. Final Design Selection

  • Designs receive a final review by the property owner or representative, DPW, DCCAH and sometimes one ANC or community representative.
  • The final design is selected by the property owner.

6. Mural Installation

  • Production is dependent on the artist’s availability and weather conditions. Once a start date is decided, a flier or banner of the impending work will be posted at the mural site.
  • Murals generally take anywhere from five days to two weeks to complete depending on the design, weather conditions, and the size of wall.