Green Star Movement Transforms Chicago’s Public Spaces One Mural at a Time

Community Area #60 out of 77: Bridgeport—that’s where you can find Green Star Movement HQ. While Green Star Movement calls Bridgeport home, you can find their work in 39 out of the 77 community areas in Chicago, which we find just as impactful as it is impressive. The Movement’s mission, according to Erica Hawkinson, Marketing and Operations Director, is to “make an impact on the individual, community and city-wide levels.” How might they do this? By uniting communities through public art and by allowing students and community members to create bricolage murals at their schools, parks, community centers, and other public spaces. Hawkinson explained that, “participants of all ages benefit from the opportunity to be creative and build self-pride; community members are united through the collaborative process and develop a shared ownership of the space; and people from near and far can delight in seeing beautiful art cover the walls of schools, park buildings, underpasses and more.”


Whether a creator or an observer, Green Star Movement brings us all together. Since its founding in 2005, Green Star Movement has provided more than 8,000 students with mural arts programming and successfully transformed the interiors and exteriors of over 90 public spaces, including schools, parks, community centers and underpasses. And while their impact is prevalent here in Chicago, you can find the Movement both nationally (hey, Montana!) and internationally (we see you Brazil and Jamaica!).


We asked Green Star Movement’s marketing and operations director how other communities could get involved and support their movement. Thankfully, she shared some approaches we can all act on ASAP, like bringing public art to your own community. Is there a walkway or underpass that has become an eye sore and could use a little love? Let Green Star transform it into a point of pride for your neighborhood. How do you do that? Hawkinson recommends bringing Green Star Movement into the conversation.


Ready to do more? Green Star Movement hosts summer trolley tours, a spectacular fall fundraiser, and mosaic classes year-round, all of which are open to the public and help the organization earn income to support programs. And, much like any non-profit, they are always looking for volunteers, donors, and help spreading the word about their mission and impact. A great first step? Find Green Star in your community by using our map below, then visit to learn more.



The 77 Project is a storytelling and media project presented in partnership with Xfinity with additional support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help redefine the narrative of our neighborhoods from the inside out. We’ll spend the remainder of 2018 shining a light on organizations and individuals in each of the 77 community areas of Chicago who are making a positive impact. Know someone we should speak with? Recommend them here.

Vanessa M. Buenger is the director of marketing & content at Chicago Ideas. She is passionate about storytelling and the power it has to change the world.

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