CITYarts engages youth and professional artists in the creation of public art, including murals and mosaics. Through this creative process, CITYarts empowers, educates, and connects youth and children locally and around the world to become active participants in realizing their potential and transforming communities.
CITYarts, INC. is a nonprofit public arts and education organization founded in 1989 by Executive and Creative Director Tsipi Ben-Haim. (The organization takes part of its name from cityarts workshop which closed down after losing its funding in 1988.) With a new name and a new mission, Tsipi Ben-Haim wanted the voices of our youth to be heard. She created 5 different programs that bring together children and youth with professional artists to create public art in New York City and beyond. CITYarts empowers youth through the creation of murals and mosaics that transform their community, impact their lives, and address social and civic issues.
To date, CITYarts has created over 300 projects that have transformed communities and impacted over 100,000 kids, collaborated with more than 500 artists, partnered with over 1,500 sponsors, and engaged over 500,000 volunteers. CITYarts is widely credited as the pioneering force in the creation of the contemporary community mural movement in New York City. Because of CITYarts’ 48-year history of engaging youth in beautifying their own neighborhoods, Tsipi Ben-Haim can state without reservation – “when kids create, they do not destroy.”
CITYarts’ projects frequently foster community revitalization by galvanizing businesses, schools, and community organizations into developing youth programs and constructing playgrounds and gardens. Thinking globally and acting locally, CITYarts’ projects build bridges of cultural understanding, giving youth the opportunity to take an active role in shaping their own future.
In 2001, following the tragic events of 9/11, Tsipi Ben-Haim saw the need to facilitate a greater understanding among young people of different cultures. She started the Young Minds Build Bridges program to connect children around the globe by allowing them to share their vision of peace through art. CITYarts is now a global arts organization, connecting youth in 80 countries on 6 continents, in over 100 schools, creating more than 6,000 works through our Pieces for Peace Project. By now, we all realize that “thinking globally and acting locally” is not a choice, but a necessity of our times – we truly live in a global community.