Murals For Change

Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) program, an emblem of youth empowerment and artistic expression, proudly presents three new murals crafted by its talented participants. This summer, 55 young artists came together under the SLI banner, channeling their creativity and passion into vibrant murals that echo the voices of New York City. The new murals shine brightly in Cypress Hills, Bushwick, and Sunset Park, celebrating community and culture within these three neighborhoods.

Murals For Change (M4C):

Together Under The Sun 

Lead Artist: Julia Cocuzza 

Assistant Artist: Lina Montoya

Mural Site Assistant: Mahnoor Sheik

Where: I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey

Year: 2023

Located at I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey in Sunset Park, this mural captures the essence of unity, community, and the importance of togetherness with nature and one’s environment. Set against the backdrop of a working-class neighborhood grappling with gentrification, the mural paints a vivid picture of cultural celebration and unity. Center for Family Life, a key collaborator, provides support with many community services. At its heart, a fist clutching a pencil rises from the sun, symbolizing empowerment. Surrounding this are depictions of children playing, businesses thriving, and a blend of nature and urban life. The mural also pays homage to the diverse tapestry of New York City, incorporating words in Chinese, Arabic, and other languages. The sun, a prominent feature, not only symbolizes hope but also holds special significance to Sunset Park, uniting the community under its rays. 

Photographer: Isabella Picicci


Youth Artists: Jasper Smith, Zhanasia Bynum, Shaniya Eagle, Dakota Ray, Terrell Spikes, Omega Harrop, Boris Cajarmaca, Fiona Zhu, Joshua Belizaire, Cristian Belizaire, Sofia Amaya, Rayne James, Alanah Mason, Danielle Jackson, Cat Cousenslee, Angelina Stemma, Lily Poon, Laiba Akhtar, Shay Killeen, Gabrielle “Dice” Sanchez

Major financial support for Groundswell’s 2023 Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) is provided by: Altman Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Charles Lawrence Keith & Clara Miller Foundation, Common Sense Fund, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The New York Community Trust Mosaic Network & Fund, Pinkerton Foundation, Sagalyn Family Foundation, Sills Family Foundation, in addition to numerous individuals.

SLI is made possible in part by public funds administered by: National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Council Member Shahana Hanif and Council Member Oswald Feliz.

Special thanks to MS136, MS 821 and The Center for Family Life

Major Corporate Sponsorship Provided By: 


Photographer: Isabella Picicci
Your continued support helps us to continue our work.

Visit The Other Two Murals

Voices Her’d: The Sky Isn’t The Limit © 2023

Lead Artists: Kristy McCarthy
Assistant Artist: Eva Mariscal
Mural Site Assistant: Melanie Garcia

Making His’tory: El Paso Del Tiempo © 2023

Lead Artists: Raul Ayala
Assistant Artist: Carlos Mateu
Mural Site Assistant: Quincy Washington

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