Philadelphia Depar tment of Recreation

Mural Guidebook

Did You Know?
- More than 50 percent of young people will try an illegal drug by the time they complete high school.1 - Parents and teachers who warn kids about the dangers of drugs have lowered drug use among youth.2 - Kids who have positive activities and interests are less likely to use drugs.3 - Sixty percent of high school students and 30 percent of middle school students report that drugs are used, kept, or sold at their school.4 - Teens cite that drugs are their greatest concern.5 - One in five high school students uses drugs at least once a month.6 - Kids whose parents are involved in their lives are less likely to use drugs.7
References: 1. Monitoring the Future Study 2001 2. The National PRIDE Survey 2000-2001 3. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development 4. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse, 2000” 5. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse, 2000” 6. The National PRIDE Survey 2000-2001 7. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse, 2000”

Page 1 Introduction Page 2 Step 1: Getting Started Page 6 Step 2: Budgeting Your Mural Project Page 8 Step 3: Creating the Vision Page 12 Step 4: Painting the Mural Page 16 Step 5: Promoting and Dedicating Your Mural Page 18 Appendix

In 1998, with the bipartisan support of Congress and the President, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) created the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, an effort designed to educate and empower youth to reject illicit drugs. Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, nonprofit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds wherever they live, learn, work, play, and practice their faith.
Starting in 2000, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign worked with corporate and community-based organizations to create “My Anti-Drug” murals. These murals, located in 26 cities around the United States, provided youth with an opportunity to express and tell the world what stands between them and drugs. The murals supported the Campaign’s positive messages of a drug-free lifestyle by encouraging youth to focus on the thing that keeps them from using drugs — their Anti-Drug. Murals are a visual way of expressing feelings and thoughts about life. By creating “My Anti-Drug” murals, a community gives youth a positive way to express what is important in their lives and demonstrates the benefits of coming together for a common good. What’s more, a community Anti-Drug mural can provide young people with new mentors and role models in the safe haven of familiar surroundings and neighbors.

This guide provides the tools to develop a “My Anti-Drug” mural in your community. It contains basic instructions on how to lead youth through activities that build self-respect, responsibility, and teamwork and support healthy, positive, and drug-free lifestyles. Developing a “My Anti-Drug” mural can be fun and can also teach young people some important “life lessons” in the process. Each stage in the development of a mural provides an opportunity to learn decision-making and master new skills.

The “My Anti-Drug” Mural Guide, an initiative of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, was developed in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program and made possible by the generous support of AT&T Wireless. The guide gives mural arts and youth-serving organizations creative ways to use substance abuse prevention themes in their arts programs.



1. Getting STARTED
Planning and painting a “My Anti-Drug” mural emphasizes learning by doing and promotes community values to young people, including a commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Before you start on your mural, here’s what needs to be done in advance.
If the mural artist is not the lead organizer and you or another team member will lead the project, you may need to enter into a contract for the artist’s services. Clearly outline the role the artist will play in the project and what duties he or she is expected to perform. It is best that your organization be responsible for purchasing and caring for materials. Make sure that your group retains full rights and ownership to future use of images of the mural.

Interior Murals
Interior permanent murals can be placed in neighborhood schools, community centers, or even libraries. Interior murals are usually smaller than exterior murals and can be painted with high-quality acrylic paints. Interior murals do not require weather-resistant paint and use fewer materials. As a result, working indoors is safer, requires less supervision, and usually costs less.

A permanent Anti-Drug mural painted directly on an existing wall structure or building could last years and have a long-lasting impact in the community. Most permanent murals are larger in size and require extensive planning. Consider the following ways you may implement a permanent Anti-Drug mural in your community.

Exterior Murals
Cost: $7,000 – $25,000 Size: 100 sq. feet and up Difficulty: Most difficult Life span: 10-plus years
“My Anti-Drug” community murals painted on exterior walls will encourage community spirit and pride for years to come. Exterior murals are long-lasting and highly visible and are a powerful alternative to graffiti and billboards.

STEP 1: Find a Mural Artist
A mural artist is critical to creating a powerful “My Anti-Drug” mural and coordinating much of the activities. To start, post an announcement about your project in areas where artists will be sure to see it, such as on the bulletin boards at local arts organizations, schools, universities, and government offices. Consider the following criteria as you review and select artists for your project.

STEP 2: Form a Mural Team
The mural team should include the lead artist, a group leader to coordinate the team members and volunteers, and, of course, young team members representing youth organizations. The recommended ratio of teens to instructors is 10 to 1. If students have special needs, such as physical or disciplinary challenges or English as a second language, more supervision may be needed. Consider recruiting high school or college students to fill additional leadership roles.

Cost: $200 – $2,000 Size: 10 – 15 feet Difficulty: Most difficult Life span: 10-plus years

- Agree on the fee the artist requires and include the fee in your expenses (estimated price range is $500 – $5,000). - Make sure that interested artists have experience in painting large-scale work (not necessarily murals). Ask to see their portfolio as part of the selection process. - Ask for references of other clients with whom the artist has worked in a similar fashion. - Make sure the artist is committed to a drug-free lifestyle and to creating a mural that matches your intentions. - Make sure the artist is interested in a collaborative project with your mural team, especially with young people. - Verify if the artist has teaching experience. It is a plus when working with young people. - Confirm with the artist the age range of youth he/she is willing to work with on the mural project. - Be clear about your process of community involvement at every stage in the project, and be sure that the artist is willing to take part in this large-team process.

Parents and adult volunteers must sign a waiver form to protect your organization from lawsuits in the event of injuries not covered by personal health insurance. Waivers can also certify that the volunteers are able to participate in planned activities. They can also include authorization to use photographs and quotes from volunteers in your mural promotions. Your legal counsel should review the waiver and have final authority over participation in the program. Consider any rules regarding child protection that may be applicable.

Planning an exterior mural requires the approval of building owners and, in most cases, permits from the appropriate city office(s). Obtain written permission and ensure that mural plans comply with local regulations before meeting with team members. This process can take anywhere from two to six months. In some communities, the city arts commission may be willing to help identify a suitable space for your mural. An outdoor mural offers many choices for medium- to large-scale projects. As the team “scouts” for a space, look for surfaces that have no windows or views that would be blocked by parked cars, equipment, and so on. Ideal surfaces for painting outdoors are smooth concrete block or stucco. Remember to avoid crumbling surfaces that show evidence of leakage or water damage. And finally, make sure that the site you select is safely away from traffic areas or other hazardous conditions and provides access to bathrooms, storage for equipment, and water for cleaning.

Find a location that is public and highly visible. This location should allow the most viewing by foot traffic. Examine the surface to make sure it is smooth with no evidence of leakage or structural damage. Concrete block, plaster, plasterboard, and stucco make good mural surfaces. With brick and textured stucco, avoid unpainted surfaces.

The Ideal Interior Surface
- A smooth surface that will not absorb the paint and has no signs of long-term water damage. - Easy access for planning, painting, and cleanup.

STEP 3: Select a Mural Type
Time, money, and space are key factors in selecting the type of mural for your team. Permanent and temporary murals can be completed in one day to two months and will leave lasting, positive impressions on everyone involved. Following are details about how to create permanent and temporary murals.

The Ideal Exterior Surface
- Easy and safe to get to for planning, painting, and cleanup. - Highly visible to ensure that the mural can be seen by all in the community. Corner locations are visible from all directions. Areas with row or twin houses are ideal mural locations. In some cases, areas where a house has burned down or has been demolished often face a dreary, windowless stucco wall, which is ideal for a mural. - Facing north is ideal, as the surface is not prone to fading, and the light is more flattering to the colors.

“The Peace Wall” 29th and Wharton Streets, 1997 Artist: Jane Golden and Peter Pagast © Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program, Jane Golden and Peter Pagast Sponsored by: The William Penn Foundation, City of Philadelphia Photograph by: Jack Ramsdale



Temporary murals are often a great way to introduce this type of public art project to an organization for the first time. Temporary murals require less planning, are easily transported and displayed in many locations, and are then replaced. They are easier to create and are usually less expensive. You may want to consider these styles of temporary murals in developing Anti-Drug messages for your community.

STEP 4: Scout for a Mural Surface
Searching for the best surface is a fun way to check out possible mural locations and determine their availability. This is a great way to involve the youth on your team in finding possible locations. Make a checklist of the pros and cons of each site and contact the site owners to determine if it is available for the mural project.

STEP 6: Obtain Insurance Permits
To obtain a permit, you will need to provide proof of insurance. You MUST have insurance for a permanent mural project and may need it for other exterior or large interior murals. Before making specific mural plans, contact the mayor’s office or city/county planning department for the name of the city office that regulates art in public spaces. This office could be the department of recreation, commission on arts and humanities, city projects division, or art

Wooden panels made from

Oversized rolls of paper, available plywood can be hinged to make an A-frame, creating a two-sided, free-standing surface for a single or larger mural effect. This structural design allows

STEP 5: Secure Your Space
Speak to the owner of the team’s first choice for a proposed mural space. Explain the Anti-Drug theme and the purpose for selecting the site. When choosing your spot, consider the occupants or activities of the building. The mural, as a very public and visual pronouncement of a belief, will be perceived as “belonging” to whatever establishment occupies the building or structure. Have available a second or third location if approval is not granted for the first location. Once you have received permission to use the selected space, keep the owner and sponsors informed of the planning and progress of the mural development. at most office supply and art stores, are a great way to create inexpensive, versatile, and portable murals. Paper murals are especially convenient because they can be

in public places. You should be able to get the information you need to obtain permits to do exterior painting. In addition, this office might be able to give you names of professional mural artists, grant information, or information on available space for your mural.

Cost: $100 – $500 Size: 3 x 5 feet – 6 x 10 feet Difficulty: Moderately difficult Life span: 10-plus years

Cost: $25 – $200 Size: 3 x 5 feet– 6 x 10 feet Difficulty: Not difficult Life span: 10-plus years

the mural to be moved, either in single panels or as a larger project, to other sites. A wooden panel mural can be displayed in a community plaza, park, or along a traffic corridor. The wood surface needs at least two coats of primer before painting the design, and a good varnish or graffiti guard should be applied on top of the design.

done as a group or individual activity and tailored to fit the time schedules and abilities of the group. Paper murals can also be used as an introduction to creating larger, more permanent murals. Consider making a collage and gluing photographs, individual drawings, pictures from magazines, fabric, glitter, ribbons, sequins, or other craft materials to your mural. Invite youth to participate by adding “My Anti-Drug” poetry or short essays to the mural.

Liability laws vary from place to place, so be sure to talk to a lawyer to determine the type of insurance you’ll need. Contact your local bar association to ask for help. If you’re painting an interior mural in your organization’s building, check with the owner to determine what the building insurance covers.

Cost: $45 – $200 Size: 3 x 5 feet – 6 x 10 feet Difficulty: Moderately difficult Life span: 10-plus years
Canvas murals can be completed in two days to a month and are long-lasting and easy to move around. Canvas murals can be displayed in various locations, offering unlimited possibilities for visibility.

Places to Display Temporary Murals
- City hall/county courthouse - Schools (in hallways or as a backdrop on a school stage) - Local libraries or museums - Religious centers - Festivals and other outdoor events - Community health centers - Community recreation centers and plazas - Retail windows of area businesses

Canvas must be primed before painting. Canvas can be purchased stretched and primed, giving your team additional time for planning and development. While canvas is available in cotton and linen, cotton is recommend for beginners. Canvas primed with a layer of white paint called gesso (“jess-oh”) before stretching is more expensive but is a step-saver. Another way to save time is to use canvas boards, which are primed canvases glued to cardboard. Lining a series of canvas boards attached to a wall can provide a large mural effect. Canvas boards are easy to cut into shapes as part of the overall mural design. Use water-soluble paints like acrylic or latex for easy cleanup and safety. When completed, a canvas mural can be framed by nailing lattice stripping (from a hardware store) to the sides of the canvas. If the mural will be moved often, consider leaving the edges unfinished and paint a compatible color border.


Creased paper: Use a low-heat iron to smooth away

creases. To increase the size of paper, attach additional sheets with white glue or a glue stick (tape will repel paint) and reinforce it on the back with tape or another strip of paper. Be sure the glue is completely dry before you start on the mural.

“What’s Your Anti-Drug?” mural Anacostia High School, October 2000 In partnership with RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign



2. Budgeting Your
There are many factors to consider in determining your projected budget cost, such as materials, permits, artist fees and expenses, and other administrative items.

Corporate Community Relations Offices or Foundations
Most corporations have community relations or government affairs offices that give money to local organizations. If your organization has tax-exempt, nonprofit status, known as a 501(c) (3) organization, such as a charitable or religious organization, it can be easier to apply for grants. Libraries or the Internet may help in locating a listing of corporations or foundations with headquarters in your city. Review the company or foundation guidelines to verify if your program meets their grant requirements. Some provide grants specifically to projects that develop art in public spaces, involve youth, provide anti-drug messages, or are health-related. To apply for a foundation or corporate grant, a completed application is usually required. The application usually requires a description of your proposed project, samples of previous work, references, and a budget. Most grant applications are similar, so it may be less difficult than you think to apply to several organizations at the same time. After researching the foundation or corporation’s grant guidelines, if you are still unsure that your project fits the requirements, contact the organization’s grant administrator.

Category/Items Number of Items Description
Choose paint according to mural type (see section on painting the mural).

Mural team members should take an active role in raising the money needed for the Anti-Drug mural. Team members can plan fund-raising events such as car washes, bake sales, art shows, and other activities to encourage donations.

Estimated Costs $1,100

Your Budget

STEP 1: Determine Cost Projection
Here are a few initial steps to consider in the development of your budget: - Make a list of materials and activities needed to complete the mural project. These activities may be general or very specific, such as listing supplies needed for painting. - Divide the list into categories such as types of material — supplies/materials. - Place a dollar value on each item listed, and be sure to budget for the unexpected. - Total the dollar value of each item to determine your projected budget costs.

Mural Paint

20 gallons

Community Partners
Community groups with similar objectives can support your mural project by providing money, volunteers, publicity, mural space, and support of fund-raising events. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and its thousands of coalition members nationwide make great local Anti-Drug mural partners. CADCA members receive grants to facilitate local drug prevention activities. Visit to find a CADCA member near you. Other organizations that make good partners include block and neighborhood associations, garden groups, police stations, faith centers, and community youth centers.

Cost includes equipment rental only, not installation.


Eight weeks for wall at 35-by-40.





3-inch brushes to fine artist brushes. Used to hold various colors of paint and water for rinsing brushes. Paint used as the first coat/layer before painting. A type of paint used to seal paint and prevent from fading or environment damage. Used to protect floors and other work areas from paint spills.

$150 $50

Tin pans/buckets



1 (5 gallon drums)


STEP 3: Thank Your Sponsors
Sponsors are happy to donate money or make in-kind contributions to important and exciting projects that better the community, but it is important to acknowledge their help. There are a number of ways to thank your sponsors.

Factors to Consider
The largest item on the budget is the artist’s commission. The muralist will cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Often college art students are eager to paint murals and will be less expensive (but they will also know less about murals). The assistant artist may work as an assistant leader or even as the primary youth leader. There should always be someone other than the primary muralist to supervise youth at the mural site. Teachers or leaders who work specifically with your student mural team are usually paid $8.50 to $10 an hour. Notice that this budget does not include insurance costs; however, they are reflected in the administrative fees included in this budget. Research this topic for your location before completing your budget estimate.


1 (5 gallon drums)

City Public Arts Programs
Most city governments have offices of arts and culture and departments of recreation and/or parks that may have money available to fund a mural. State governments also have public art programs and funds to support various projects. In addition, check with your local councilperson’s office for a listing of offices that might be worth contacting.


2 or 3


Recognition on the Mural
administrative fees
Artist Fee/Commission Fee for Paid Staff
(This fee can range from $8.50 to $20 an hour.)

Team members, such as coordinator or supervisors who conduct work on behalf of the team and mural project. Ten percent of total project cost. Includes insurance, miscellaneous expenses, or operational costs.


Identify how the sponsor wishes to be acknowledged and find a mutually agreed upon place and size on the mural for recognition.

Recognition in Print
List your sponsor(s) with a special “thank you” in a printed program or other printed materials including signs. Also acknowledge sponsors in press materials such as press releases and fact sheets.

In-Kind Donations
Materials and supplies donated from local businesses, as well as donated time from experienced mural artists, can dramatically reduce mural costs. Even small in-kind donations like painter’s caps, T-shirts with partner or company logos, and snack foods can make mural painting more of a fun community celebration. Larger in-kind donations like paint, scaffolding, mural space, or staging for the unveiling ceremony can make a more ambitious mural project a reality than would otherwise have been possible. Start by brainstorming what you and your team think will be needed and then identify local businesses that might be willing to help. Send a letter to the business along with a description of the mural project. Stress the benefits to the business for getting involved, and be sure to mention how the business will be recognized for participating. Be sure to follow up within a few weeks for a response.

2-5 people

STEP 2: Secure Funding
Now that you have determined how much the mural will cost, you may want to consider obtaining funds from other sources. For example, corporations may be a good source for supplies and materials. After you identify your funding gaps, explore options for getting the necessary additional funds, materials, and volunteers needed to complete your mural. Grants, in-kind donations, group fund-raisers, and community partnerships with private and nonprofit organizations that have drug prevention grants are key ways to get funds to complete an Anti-Drug mural. Consider the following suggestions to help find a funding source.

Other Administrative Fees



Recognition During the Dedication Ceremony
List your sponsors in announcements and provide an opportunity for a company representative to give a few remarks. Note: If your sponsor wishes to remain anonymous, a thank-you letter to the company is sufficient.

other expenses

(*Note: The amount listed is based on the permit process in the city of Philadelphia. Please refer to your city for permit procedures.)

As needed

Issued by city agency if mural will be outdoors.


Promotion and Event Planning



Projected Budget Cost: $9,130



3. Creating the VISION
Now you are ready for the development of the actual project! There are a number of steps to make certain that everything goes smoothly and that the mural is embraced by all of your neighbors and community partners.
Bring a few books about murals to the planning meetings to illustrate the range of possibilities — from the Mexican murals of Diego Rivera to recent murals in California, Chicago, and Philadelphia. To get your discussion started, use some of the techniques in the Discussion Ideas section on the next page to begin the conversation, or consider conducting the activities to get the team’s creative ideas flowing.

4. “You are going to Survivor Island. You can take two objects to remind you of who you are — healthy, drug-free, and clear-headed. What will you take?” 5. Takes turns describing one thing each young person loves about his/her neighborhood. How can these ideas be incorporated into the mural? 6. Ask the young people to close their eyes, relax, and meditate for a few moments and then ask them to color an area two or three inches square that represents a feeling of relaxed alertness that comes from within — not from drugs.

Need some additional help in getting the team working on creative ideas? Try these activities for inspiration.

STEP 1: Develop the Team Structure
Organize an initial meeting with team members. At this meeting, describe the mural project and the steps involved. Help the team set a realistic timetable for completion and ask each team member to commit to seeing the project through. Identify the roles and responsibilities for each team member beginning with the planning stage to the design of the mural. Consider roles such as project coordinator, secretary, treasurer, public relations, and technical adviser. These are just a few suggestions; additional roles may be required depending on the size of your mural project.

seven months before unveiling:
- Determine budget - Determine mural type - Find mural artist

“That’s Me” Icebreaker
GOAL To provide an active warm-up to get young people thinking about their various interests. INSTRUCTIONS
1. Have youth sit on the floor or in chairs. 2. Instruct the group to call out various pastimes, hobbies, and interests, such as fishing, sewing, or playing soccer, in a format such as “Who likes …?” 3. After the question is asked to the group, kids who are interested in this particular activity will jump up and say, “That’s me!” Continue until the entire group is standing. Note: The leader may want to begin by asking about less common activities and work toward more popular activities. This will make certain that the entire group is not standing after only one question.

two weeks before unveiling:
- Begin publicizing event - Send announcements to local media - Make calls to guest list; finalize list of those attending

GOAL To highlight anti-drug efforts and focus on local
drug abuse prevention needs and activities.

six months before unveiling:
- Form mural team - Scout for mural location - Determine mural location - Obtain insurance and permits

one week before unveiling:
- Finalize ceremony details - Purchase refreshments; take care of final details - Call press to extend invitation

One of your first team meetings might include visiting the site to begin thinking as a team about how the mural should look to the community when it is finished. Shape your “My Anti-Drug” mural to the age and abilities of your students. Work with them to select a message for their peers and community. Use the languages that are spoken in your community and images that are special to kids and culturally appropriate for the neighborhood.

Large sheets of white paper, flip chart, markers, “My Anti-Drug” declaration form (see appendix), and drug information from or

five months before unveiling:
- Plan team meeting to discuss mural theme - Determine Anti-Drug message - Develop mock design - Plan community meetings

1. Discuss facts or statistics about the negative consequences of drugs to show that there are reasons for youth to pursue their Anti-Drug interests. 2. Have participants list their personal reasons for not using drugs — their own Anti-Drugs. 3. Create or modify the declaration provided in the appendix based on the ideas and input of all the participants, and put the group’s declaration on the form. Finally, brainstorm specific Anti-Drug themes, pictures, or slogans. Ask the team to discuss the project and their plans with friends and family members. The facilitator should write all the responses on a chalkboard and later review them with the group. Let kids help you decide which responses they like best. Some young people, particularly those who are interested in art, will “think” in terms of drawings. Notice these efforts and bring them to the attention of the rest of the team.

two days before unveiling:
- Review ceremony plans with mural team

STEP 2: Find an Anti-Drug Theme
An Anti-Drug is an activity, person, feeling, or expression that empowers youth to reject illegal drugs. Finding an Anti-Drug theme can be fun and can provide young people with an opportunity to express themselves creatively. To develop an Anti-Drug theme for the mural, the group could begin by discussing drug use and how to reject illicit drugs. Team members can then identify specific images and messages unique to their community that support the “My Anti-Drug” theme. The discussion and planning phase of the Anti-Drug mural is made up of two components:

four months before unveiling:
- Obtain materials for developing mural

one day before unveiling:
- Review ceremony plans with mural team - Make last-minute calls to invited press and other guests

Discussion Ideas:
1. Ask the young people to write down three reasons why they would choose a drug-free lifestyle. Help them determine their Anti-Drug. For example, a kid interested in sports may say “Soccer. My Anti-Drug.” Discuss how to show these reasons visually. 2. How do kids decorate their rooms at home? What kinds of images and objects make them feel comfortable and able to cope with the day ahead? Talk about how to use these ideas in a mural. 3. If you could give a friend one special word to help him or her feel strong and positive about life, what would it be? Each kid writes the word on a piece of paper and places it in a container. Then everyone takes turns drawing a word. Tell them: “If you don’t like the first one, throw it back without reading it aloud. But you can only throw back one. The word you accept is YOUR word for the day. Use your new word in a sentence that expresses a positive lifestyle message.”

three months before unveiling:
- Clean and repair surface - Transfer mural design to surface - Begin painting mural

Unveiling: two months before unveiling:
- Continue to develop mural - Set up for ceremony two hours before ceremony - Provide equal amount of time for cleanup afterward

1. WORDS: selecting a subject or topic expressing the Anti-Drug 2. PICTURES: developing and creating a visual image of a design
For example, ask the team to select words or phrases that have a positive meaning, such as “high on life” or “music is the key to life.” Then ask the team to expand on these words and phrases by suggesting images that represent their meaning. For example: A key in the shape of a music symbol unlocking a locked door can represent the visual image of the theme “music is the key to life.”

one month before unveiling:
- Plan the unveiling ceremony - Develop guest list; send invitations for ceremony - Develop publicity materials - Plan for refreshments and place orders


Make sure the language and content of the mural will reflect the culture of the community. Include as many languages as your team members speak. In doing so, make sure to check the translation before putting them in a mural, because translated words sometimes have unintended and undesirable meanings.



STEP 3: Develop Mock Design
Once a general theme is selected, pass out art supplies and have each team member develop a creative picture that expresses the Anti-Drug theme. Remember that these pictures should show the positive effects of not using drugs. After each team member has completed a mock design, present each design to the team and determine which design best illustrates the team’s Anti-Drug theme. The final creative design will be the mock design for the mural.

STEP 5: Apply “My Anti-Drug” Branding Guidelines
Your “My Anti-Drug” mural will not only demonstrate a positive message to your community but it also will benefit from a larger association with the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The Campaign has established unique “brand” elements that help unify messages, national advertising, and promotions. As you develop your mural, remember to include these branding elements.

Include the “My Anti-Drug” brand depending on what your team chooses as its theme. The Anti-Drug can be a higher order value (“love,” “self-respect”), a relationship (“mom,” “friends”), or an activity (“reading,” “basketball”). The brand is designed to be flexible and to support every possible creative execution. The success of an Anti-Drug mural depends on involvement and support from the community. The mural will become a fixture in the community and should reflect its ideas and values. But getting the community involved can be a challenge. Start early by organizing a community meeting. Invite community leaders as well as the neighbors living near the proposed mural site. To help the team answer questions, give them copies of the draft of the mural design, the budget, names of sponsors, and most important, the Anti-Drug theme.

STEP 4: Get the Community Involved

Consider selecting a meeting location that is public and convenient such as a place of worship, school, or community center. Remember to consider people’s work schedules and family obligations when finding a mutually convenient meeting time. Send “fliers” to every home in the neighborhood announcing the meeting and invite friends and families to the mural unveiling and dedication ceremony. Post an announcement at supermarkets, community centers, and in local newspapers and/or newsletters. Combine the meeting with a cleanup day organized around the site of the proposed mural or some other community event to create interest in the mural. Identify more ways for community members to take an active part in the mural’s development.

- Use the brand signature in black and white only; no color. - Generate the signature using a handwritten font such as Sand. - The brand device should not be enclosed in any additional shapes such as boxes or circles. - The brand must not be set at an angle. - When the “What’s Your Anti-Drug?” tag line is used, the preceding brackets must never be filled with any letters. They should remain empty to allow for individuals to contemplate their Anti-Drug.

- The owners of the wall MUST be happy with the mural plan. Consider meeting with them separately to be sure of their support. - A professional artist can help combine elements from several drawings into a single design. It is easier to paint flat shapes than shaded ones. Help students pick a design where their talents will shine. - Branding elements should be placed at the bottom on the far left or right corner of the mural design.

“What’s Your Anti-Drug?” mural Greenbriar Mall, Atlanta 2000 In partnership with Atlanta’s 100 Black Men of America National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign



4. Painting the MURAL
You’ve secured your wall, assembled your team, obtained funding, chosen your Anti-Drug message, and designed a dynamic visual presentation and won community approval. Now you are ready to PAINT! Before beginning, the mural surface must be prepared and, in some cases, repaired. Here are a few steps to guide you.
Apply the paint with rollers to keep the texture consistent. Allow the design and paint your mural. final coat to dry for at least 24 hours before you begin to transfer the

Exterior Interior Canvas Paper Wood

When to Use Scaffolding
When selecting a wall, remember that young painters should work on an area that is no higher than they can reach while standing on a low, sturdy support. For outdoor paintings more than 6 feet high, you will need to locate a reputable general contractor and rent scaffolding ($250–$400 a month). Only professional artists will work on the scaffolding while the young people paint the lower portions of the mural.

SKETCH MATERIALS Pencils Sketchpads Water-Based Markers Erasers PAINTING MATERIALS

STEP 1: Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Gather all team members and assign roles and responsibilities. This allows every team member to feel some responsibility for the project. For example, there should be a team member in charge of materials, one to review the overall mural development, one or more to work directly with youth, and one or two people to plan the dedication ceremony.

Step 4: Transfer Design to Surface
Now that you have chosen your design, your artist will likely choose one of the following methods, or a combination, to complete the transfer of the mural design to the surface. Listed are the most popular techniques. If the surface is large (taller than 8 feet), you will need to have scaffolding in place before

Caulk or Filler
(Sealkrete, gesso and sand mixture)

Chalk Line in Red or Blue or a Combination Yardstick, Measuring Tape, or Rulers Primer in White or Buff Latex Paint or Gesso
(for canvas)

STEP 2: Determine Materials Needed
Consider the type of mural that is being developed. Each mural type has specific material needs. The following materials are standard for painting interior and exterior murals.

the artist begins drawing.

Paint Rollers

The oldest technique of wall painting is freehand or direct painting. This technique is best-suited for expressive subjects such as flowers, sky, water, and trees. Freehand is not recommended for a mural

Mural Paint Artists’ Acrylic Paint or Latex Brushes
(various sizes from two inches wide)

STEP 3: Prepare Surface for Work
Clean the Surface
Cleaning and preparing a wall for a mural is sometimes called buffing the wall. An old exterior wall should be washed with a bleach solution. Use a power hose on peeling paint. Unless the walls are new, interior walls should be washed with detergent and carefully rinsed.

portrait, for example. If you are lettering by freehand, use a straight edge and make right angles. The disadvantage of freehand painting for a team of painters is the obvious variation of style from one painter to another. However, if your team is painting individual sections (for example, canvas panels), each by an individual artist, freehand painting can be a perfect option.

Mixing Trays, Tins, Plastic Tubs, or Old Containers Cafeteria Trays, Baking Sheets, or Muffin Tins Cleaning Supplies
(soap, buckets, rags, paper towels)

Sealer With UV Protection

Direct Projection
A photograph can be digitized as a slide, projected onto the wall, and traced. You can also lightly write notes, which will be painted over later, to help the team find its way around the tracing when painting. Ordinary, nondigitized slides and images in an overhead projector can also be traced. If your mural is outdoors, projections should take place at night when it is dark. When using a projector, you may have to experiment a bit to find the correct distance for projecting the mural. If the mural is large (two stories tall), the tracing may take several evenings to complete. Nighttime activities could attract a good deal of interest within the community. For example, a neighborhood block party with refreshments, music and fliers explaining your Anti-Drug project could be held at the same time as nighttime activities.

Dropcloth or Newspaper to Protect Floors Copies of the Final Sketch of the Mural Collage Materials
(magazines, colored or patterned paper, fabric, sequins, glitter, and photos)

Repair the Surface
Fill cracks and chips in older walls with Sealkrete or a mixture of gesso and fine sand; both are available at most local hardware stores. If the wall is outdoors, clean the area in front of the mural, removing debris and leaves that might blow onto the wet paint. Repeat this process often during painting.

Glue Sticks or White Glue Scissors Tape Oil Sticks Colored Pencils

Prime the Surface
Let dry for at least 24 hours. The clean, dry wall should be primed with three coats of white or off-white latex exterior house paint or primer to cover up existing graffiti and make the wall color uniform.



STEP 5: Select Paint for Mural
Before you begin painting, consider the type of mural and its

Note: Hundreds of everyday household products, such as paint and paint thinners are used as inhalants by kids to get a quick high by sniffing directly from an open container or “huffing” from a rag soaked in the substance held to the face. Inhaling such products intentionally can cause heart palpitations, breathing difficulty, dizziness, and headaches in the short term and damage to the brain, nerve cells, heart, and lungs in the long term.”

The most popular method of transferring a drawing to a wall is the grid method. Make your finished drawing of the mural in the same proportion as the wall you’ll be painting. If the wall is an irregular shape, either copy that shape exactly onto paper or impose a rectangle onto the wall. You can then paint the area outside the rectangle a solid color as a kind of “frame” for the picture within. First, create a grid of 1-inch-by-1-inch squares over your entire design. If you make photocopies of your drawing, you can draw your grid right on one of these without damaging the original drawing. Otherwise, use acetate or tracing paper. You can get either of these at an art supply store. Number all of the boxes across the top of your design and letter all of the boxes down the side of your design. Once your design has its 1-inch-by-1-inch grid, create a proportional grid on the wall of 1-foot-by-1-foot squares. Make sure that you have purchased a yardstick, level, chalk line, and chalk at your local hardware store. You will also need a carpenter’s pencil. Starting from the left, measure and mark with your pencil 1 foot by 1 foot all the way across and all the way down to match your grid. Use your level to ensure that the marks are in line. Then, using your chalk line, line up the line to the vertical 1-foot marks and snap all of your vertical lines. Repeat this technique with the horizontal lines. You will need at least three people to complete this job. You should now see on the wall a grid that looks identical to the grid on your design. Now, transfer the contents of each block in your design to the corresponding block on the wall. Remember to work block to block. Don’t try to view the whole wall at once. By working block to block, one at a time, your design will be transferred perfectly.

location. It is important to consider the effects that the seasons will have on the painted surface. If the surface will constantly be exposed to strong sun, wind, and rain, use paint that will not weather easily to preserve the mural.

Best Paint for Outdoor Murals
The best paint for outdoor murals is a UV-protected acrylic (protected against ultraviolet light damage). If a UV-protected acrylic is not available, use exterior latex house paint.

Best Paint for Indoor Murals
Liquitex acrylic or other artists’ acrylic paints are used for indoor murals. If your indoor mural is exposed to a lot of sun, consider a UV-protected acrylic. Latex paints can be used indoors and outdoors. Although latex is not as colorfast as acrylics, it comes in a variety of colors and is less expensive.

Painting Process
Working with a professional artist, plan the stages of painting giving each team specific assignments. Start with broad areas of flat color (background) allowing inexperienced painters to build confidence. Finish with details or areas of shading. Periodically, the whole team should step back and critique the progress of the mural. Discuss changes and additions needed. As the mural nears completion, ask your team to consider how visually unified it looks. Can it be made more unified? It is worth the extra time and effort to make your Anti-Drug mural as beautiful, memorable, and legible as possible since it will be a permanent fixture in the community. Start your final corrections and touch-ups at the top of the mural and work down so drips can be covered.

Sealing the Mural
When the mural is complete and dry, you have the option of applying a sealer coat. This will protect the mural, and the light will reflect evenly from all the colors. The best sealer is clear acrylic, which offers ultraviolet light protection. DO NOT USE POLYURETHANE. It dissolves acrylic paint! Make sure a thin coat is applied with brushes or rollers.

Step 6: Cleanup
At the end of every painting session, leave time for cleanup. Emphasize simple rules for keeping materials in good condition for reuse. Lids should be tightly covered. All paint tins and brushes must be washed thoroughly. (When exposed to air for an extended period of time, acrylic paints will become hard and will not be suitable for
Detail of mural design for “Songs. My Anti Drug.” 3413 Haverford Avenue, 2002 Artist: Donald Gensler © Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program and Donald Gensler Sponsored by: AT&T Wireless

“What’s Your Anti-Drug?” mural 21st Annual Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC), New York 2001 National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

reuse. If paint has dried on the brushes, you will not be able to use them again). Gather the clean supplies and place them in your storage area at the end of the day. If it is an outdoor mural, remember to remove any trash or unwanted materials.



5. Promoting and Dedicating
A mural dedication celebrates the mural’s relationship to the community and young muralists’ skill, creativity, and teamwork. The ceremony is also a good way to thank everyone who worked on the project. The dedication reinforces each team member’s sense of social responsibility and confidence in their ability to achieve complex, real-life goals.
Scale the celebration to your mural. The larger and more public it is, the more ambitious your plans should be. Start planning the dedication for an outdoor mural early. You need this time to contact media sources in order to draw their attention to the mural. Engage journalists in the early stages of painting. The dedication ceremony should be announced in newspapers before the event.



STEP 3: Publicize Your Event
Develop a Press Advisory
Once the date for the dedication and major guests are lined up, you can develop a press advisory to generate additional interest before the event (see sample advisory in appendix). Your press advisory should answer all the important questions — who, what, when, where, why, and how. See a sample press advisory in the appendix section.

Local supermarkets, restaurants, or other businesses may donate refreshments and paper goods for your event, but also consider preparing the food. When neighbors prepare food for the party, the dedication becomes a truly unique and special event.

STEP 2: Determine Elements Needed for a Dedication Program
Determine who should participate in the dedication program. You may want to ask an important community leader, like the mayor or city councilperson, to officially dedicate the mural. Provide your sponsor(s) with an opportunity to share and say a few words regarding their participation. Also include a spokesperson from the mural team. Prepare mural team members on questions about the mural and what it means to them.

Other Media Opportunities
Mural Development. As you plan the mural, you may want to call your local newspapers and television stations to give them the opportunity to write about or film the mural’s development from start to finish. Send a media advisory (see above) to local press giving them the location of the project, its history for development, and any additional information that will appeal to community leaders. Dedication Ceremony. Consider inviting local, community, and college television, radio, or print media to the dedication ceremony. The more press attending, the greater the opportunity will be to have your mural recognized. You will want to send a press advisory to these places, but also send an invitation to attend the dedication. Consider community centers, community newsletters, and other activity boards around town for promoting your event.
“What’s Your Anti-Drug?” mural Greenbriar Mall, Atlanta 2000 In partnership with Atlanta’s 100 Black Men of America National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

STEP 1: Plan the Details of the Dedication Ceremony
When the painting timeline is developed, set a tentative date for the unveiling ceremony. Choose a day and time that will draw a crowd; a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is ideal. Build in several extra weeks to complete the mural in case of bad weather or other problems.

Budget permitting, feature a local band, poet, singer, dancer, or other entertainer, or consider bringing upbeat music on a tape or CD and decorating the area around the mural dedication to give it a celebratory feel. Radio stations will often broadcast live from community events and bring promotional items to attract a crowd.

Printed Program Select Invited Guests
Creating your Anti-Drug community mural involved a lot of people — neighbors, community leaders, businesses, and sponsors. An invitation should be extended to all who made this event and mural possible. Develop a simple, inexpensive invitation for broad community distribution such as a flier or post card. Distribute fliers throughout the neighborhood a week in advance. Give each team member copies of fliers for friends and family. Send invitations to or telephone team members, sponsors, and anyone who assisted in making the project possible. Personally invite community elders, teachers, and other respected local residents. Hand out fliers to passers-by at the last painting (sealing) session. Invite representatives of organizations that might support your next Anti-Drug mural. Invite journalists who might be interested in your story. Consider the location and travel requirements for your mural to make sure that journalists are able to attend the event and meet story deadlines. A printed program for your dedication ceremony also should include information about the mural and the mural team and should acknowledge the sponsors. The program can be a simple sheet of paper or a more elaborate pamphlet. A member of the mural team could design it, or perhaps there is a local graphic artist who would be willing to donate time to develop and copy the program for distribution at the dedication.


For best media coverage, send a press release one month

in advance of your event. Send another two weeks ahead. Call a week before and the day before the event and follow up.

Step 4: Share Your Success With Us
We would love to see your work. Send your success pictures and information about your “My Anti-Drug” mural to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, 1615 L St. N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20036. Your mural could be included in the Campaign’s national media outreach and Web site promotion.
"Common Threads" Broad and Spring Garden Streets, 1998 Artist: Meg Saligman © Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program and Meg Saligman Sponsored by: Mid-Atlantic Foundation, Philadelphia Foundation, PA Council of the Arts, Ellis Gimbel Charitable Trust, Ernst & Young, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Philadelphia Photograph by: Jack Ramsdale



Press Advisory Template

My Anti-Drug Declaration:
[Organization Letterhead] Media Contacts: Jane Smith (202) 555-5555

Our Declaration

[ORGANIZATION] TO DEDICATE ANTI-DRUG MURAL BY AREA ARTIST AND LOCAL CHILDREN WHO: [Jane Smith], Director of [your organization’s mural program]; artist [artist’s name]; staff and clients of the [partnering organization or major donor]; other supporters [list names]; and neighbors. Invited guests include Mayor [name]; city council members [names]; and [give names and titles of other dignitaries and major guests]. Students from the [local middle school] talk about the “My Anti-Drug” mural theme and the [local middle school band] will perform. WHAT: Dedication of the city’s first Anti-Drug Mural — [Name of mural, ie “Communication Is the Anti-Drug”] [Street address and city in bold type] [Date and time in bold type] Titled “Communication Is the Anti-Drug,” the new mural by artist [artist], working with 12 students from [location], unites a band of painted figures by young muralists with colorful images of young people engaged in creative activities. The [xx] foot-high by [xx] foot-wide wall appeals to an audience of all ages.




The project, which was [artist’s] first mural, was sponsored by the [major sponsor and other sponsors]. Paint and supplies for the mural were donated by [local hardware store]. ###



About the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
In 1998, with the bipartisan support of Congress and the President, ONDCP created the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, an effort designed to educate and empower youth to reject illicit drugs. Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, nonprofit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds wherever they live, learn, work, play, and practice their faith.

About AT&T Wireless
Through sponsorship of the Mural Guide, AT&T Wireless reflects its commitment to investing in and strengthening the company's ties to the communities where it does business and where its employees live and work. Through partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations, AT&T Wireless' Community Connections program provides financial support, in-kind donations, volunteer support, and other resources in the areas of public safety, community education, and family communications. To learn more about Community Connections, please visit

Drug Abuse Prevention Resources
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is an initiative created to educate and enable America’s youth to reject illicit drugs. Visit any of the Media Campaign’s Web sites for youth, parents, and concerned adults:

AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) is the largest independently traded wireless carrier in the United States, following our split from AT&T on July 9, 2001. We operate one of the largest digital wireless networks in North America. With 20.2 million subscribers, and full-year 2001 revenues exceeding $13.6 billion, AT&T Wireless is committed to being among the first to deliver the next generation of wireless products and services. Today, we offer customers high-quality mobile wireless communications services, voice or data, to businesses or consumers, in the U.S. and internationally. AT&T Wireless Customer Advantage is our commitment to ensure that customers have the right equipment, the right calling plan, and the right customer services options -- today and tomorrow. For more information, please visit us at Learn how to talk to your kids about drugs. This award-winning site encourages parents to help their children with these difficult issues by offering information from behavioral experts as well as from other parents.

Find resources to empower kids on decision-making and how to express what keeps them from doing drugs. Designed with bulletin boards and role-playing games, this site provides youth with information on the dangers of substance abuse and making responsible decisions with their lives.

About MAP
The Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program (MAP) is a public art program that works in partnership with community residents, grass roots organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, corporations, and philanthropic groups to design and create murals of enduring value while actively engaging youth in the process.

Obtain resources and links for the Media Campaign Partners and community groups. The site includes information about the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign’s drug abuse prevention programs, activities, and strategies. You may find press releases, announcements, and quarterly newsletter, as well as downloadable Anti-Drug banners that can be posted on Web sites.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is the premier national membership organization and represents more than 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions nationwide, providing training, information, and support. These coalitions are local partnerships between parents, teachers, young people, law enforcement, health providers, the faith community, business and civic leaders, elected officials, and concerned citizens who unite and mobilize to make their communities safe, healthy, and drug-free — one community at a time.

For more information, contact:
The Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program 1729 Mt. Vernon Street Philadelphia, PA 19130 Phone: (215) 685-0750 Web site:

Find drug abuse prevention resources and ideas for classroom activities. provides ideas to incorporate drug abuse prevention messages into lesson plans, classroom activities, teaching tips, and discussion activities that deter students from using drugs.



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