Some of the best and brightest artists the world has to offer have participated in the Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project (MLK Mural). Their objectives are to work with the youth artists by educating them on the basics of drawing and painting, artistic styles, and work with the youth to unlock the rich history of their community. The Artists are leaders and coaches there to provide a safe environment for the youth.
Together the youth and professional Artists go through creative experience to learn and work together. They learn the power of teamwork, civic responsibility, and activism by working as a team to accomplish a common goal. After spending time as a group, friendships are born, and positive peer groups are formed. The murals become the place where it all happens and the Artists make it fun and rewarding.
The ultimate goal is to empower youth through art education. By arming them with the skills and knowledge to create public art they become leaders in their community. Their voices are heard by the images they create. The community is there every day to watch their progress and lend their encouragement.
Key ideas revolve around teamwork, community involvement, respect for community history, and most importantly respect for themselves and their peers. Under the staff’s guidance the students will discover not only the history, but also the future of their neighborhoods.
Both the professional and youth artists create the public art together. This is a large group effort, requiring teamwork, coordination, and hard work. The results are magnificent and rewarding to all who participate.
MLK Mural has an ongoing open call for Artists through its website www.mlkmural.com. All Artists are prescreened and trained before participating in the Mural Process.
Kyle Holbrook - Executive Artist
Moving the Lives of Kids Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by artist Kyle Holbrook. Mr. Holbrook noticed the opportunity to make local communities more colorful and vibrant by converting dirty walls into beautiful canvas depicting valuable themes and historic events in the local and national history. As a result of this vision, he was commissioned to pursue projects throughout the country and the U.S. His portfolio of visible contributions to community art includes nearly 500 colorful murals that currently adorn streets, highways, walls, and schools throughout the world. The organization’s most valuable asset is their team of intergenerational “Muralists”. Using a collegial approach, more than 5000 youth can now say that they have received training in how to paint a mural.
A few international projects include:
2006- “The History of Baseball in Pittsburgh.” Completed as part of Major League Baseball’s All Star celebrations in Pittsburgh. 20 MLK Artists participated along with 100 Youth Artists. The young artist participants not only learned about local sports history, they experienced being part of a team creating a monumental artistic beautification project in their neighborhoods. Participants included neighborhood youth, local artists, and students from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and the Creative and Performing Arts High School.
2007-2012 MLK directed the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway Community Murals Project. Hundreds of Artists and thousands of Youth Artists assisted in completing 200 murals in and around Pittsburgh.
2009-2012- MLK-Miami begins operating and partners with the Little Haiti Cultural Center to produces a large mural honoring the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Also the organization partners with Urgent Inc. to produce a baseball themed mural honoring Miami’s 1920 Negro
League Baseball team, the Ethiopian Clowns.
Edward Rawson - MLK Advisor
Mr. Rawson has been involved with the Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project since 2007. He has helped develop the programming, curriculums, and company expansion. Over the years he has planned and executed hundreds of murals with the help of thousands of Youth Artists and hundreds of Professional Artists. He has overseen the growth and development of the company from a localized mural project in Pittsburgh to an international multicultural company. He has collaborated with dozens of artists on projects in Pittsburgh, Miami, Niteroi Brazil, and Port au Prince Haiti. Mr. Rawson shares Mr. Holbrook’s enthusiasm for social philanthropy, pub - lic arts, and community development.
Some Mural highlights include: 2008 Mr. Rawson created a mural in his home neighborhood of Squirrel Hill on Murray avenue which later became the official business district logo placed on every street lamp along Forbes and Murray avenue.
2009 Mr. Rawson completed the only painted Mural in the new UPMC Children’s Hospital on Penn Ave. The mural is a three dimensional colorful sculptural mural on the seventh floor of the hospital. The key themes for the mural were transformation and transition.
2009 in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh and the Andy Warhol Museum, Mr. Rawson participated in a Fulbright Hays Teaching Fulbright in Brazil where he painted a mural with 12 local youth.
2010-2012 Mr. Rawson completed five murals in Haiti as part of a UN OCHA funded cash for work project designed to offer work opportunities to 7,000 people who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Mr. Rawson was the project manager and along with infrastructure improvement projects he incorporated neighborhood beautification projects incorporating 200 Haitian Youth Artists.
Samantha Davis - Community Organizer
Samantha Davis is the Community Organizer for Moving Lives of Kids. She began her work with MLK Mural in 2010 as the Program Director for the “Broken Window’s project”. This project engaged over 100 youth and volunteers teaching them the basics of art and promoting teamwork, community pride and goal setting. Through this project, over 150 boards illustrating positive images and influential figures of Pittsburgh were installed on the abandoned homes in low-income communities.
Samantha stands strong in her belief that everyone has the innate ability to succeed in life; all they need is the opportunity to do so. She has been working with the at-risk youth of Pittsburgh through mentoring and teaching for eight years.
She attended American University where she obtained her Master’s in Public Policy and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. When not working with MLK Mural Samantha works on policies impacting low-income and homeless populations through the Advocacy and Social Justice Department of SOME (So Other’s Might Eat) in our Nation’s Capital Washington DC.
Samantha enjoys the engaging the Youth Artists with the community to promote their leadership skills. She has an uncanny ability to bridge the gaps between the MLK Mural Program and the Community. She does a great job of promoting the core mission of empowering youth through public art and community engagement.
Lil Baby Artworld - Street Artist and Educator
Artworld plays a pivotal role in all public murals and street art, he focuses on art with a social cause, “meaning”. often times facilitating the ‘Community paint days’ using art to unite people.
Artworld is instrumental in developing the MLK Mural patented curriculum.