Immigrant and Origin Story Mural Project

Ongoing Project


The Immigrant and Origin Story Mural Project is a multifaceted mural and creative placemaking project celebrating the tapestry of local immigrant and origin stories in neighborhoods across this country. The project centers on a public mural along with a host of related events that activate the space - engaging the community at every step of the process.

This project aims to address three aspects of a community: 1. beautification of an area with a powerful, stunning artwork that offers a sense of identity; 2. elevation of underrepresented immigrant and origin stories and the strengthening of the entire area’s sense of community; 3. stimulation of economic activity and self-initiated community initiatives.

Creative Placemaking

Immigrant and Origin Stories

Economic Development

*why “and Origin?” to acknowledge the stories of 1. people who found themselves here against their free will and 2. indigenous peoples who have always called this land their home.




  • Work with community to develop specific concept, space - identify space, research, community meetings on mural idea and local element input, develop programming
  • Gather stories - work with community and partners to gather immigrant and origin stories
  • Create art and engage local orgs, host youth workshops - create art, ideally in a temporary store-front studio, conduct workshops and artist talks, prepare for unveiling
  • Unveil artwork and host large community event - invite local media, communities, and businesses, celebrate!
  • Encourage community-initiated action - work with community to encourage mural-inspired spin-off events, festivals, and programming.


We are looking to bring this project to your community!

We are in search of project partners open to an exciting creative placemaking project that builds communities through storytelling and that spurs economic development through community activity. Our pilot project was financed through a public-private partnership. We are very open to finding the right fit for your community to bring this project to you!

CLICK HERE to contact us, or send us an email at

Pilot - Haverhill, MA

This project’s pilot was in Haverhill, MA, a post-industrial city of approximately 60,000 with rapidly changing demographics and growing pains related to those changes. Its residents come from a variety of backgrounds that arrived at different periods in history - with large Italian, English, French-Canadian, and Irish communities. Today, twenty percent of Haverhill identifies as Latino, having immigrated more recently.

The mural’s style was developed to both celebrate the cultural histories of long-time residents and elevate the current experiences of more recent immigrants.The mural was painted in a style inspired by Italian folk-art traditions that incorporated local history and showcased 46 brightly painted panels featuring 148 portraits of community members of diverse and time-periods. These portraits are framed by a border incorporating local iconography. In the mural’s center, there is a tableaux of the Haverhill city skyline incorporating community-identified landmarks.

Every step of this project was collaborative, engaging over 30 local and state nonprofits and businesses, along with several community leaders including legislators, business executives, and community activists. The project hosted youth storytelling workshops, interactive art projects, poetry performances, community listening sessions, potlucks, and a large story-gathering initiative.

The mural and associated programming have had a long term impact, enlivening the area’s sense of community, creating a representative expression of the city, and bringing economic improvements by increasing activity in the downtown and encouraging additional investment.



ca.150 portraits

500 people engaged in process

20+ Countries Represented

5 youth workshops

5 spin-off initiatives:

  1. Immersive Immigrant-Story Opera
  2. Haverhill Multicultural Festival
  3. Immigrant Community Cookbook
  4. News Series on Underrepresented Voices
  5. Rotating Public Art Project for Majority Latino-Neighborhood [Coming Summer 2020]

**\ Learn more about the Haverhill Immigrant Origin Mural Project [Here](!**

Interested in bringing this project to your community?

CLICK HERE to contact us, or send us an email at

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