CITYarts engages youth and professional artists in the creation of public art, including murals and mosaic. 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.
In 1968, CITYarts was founded by a group of artists as Cityarts Workshop, a community organization dedicated to painting murals to uplift communities around New York City. After closing its doors in 1989 due to underfunding, Tsipi Ben-Haim was asked to step in to revitalize and reopen the struggling arts nonprofit. She re-founded the organization as CITYarts, Inc., refocusing the mission on youth and how they can transform their communities through the creation of public art.
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, Executive and Creative Director Tsipi Ben-Haim saw the need to facilitate a greater understanding among young people of different cultures – especially among youth. 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 71 countries on 6 continents, through our Pieces for Peace project. By now, we all realize that “Thinking globally and acting locally” is not a choice but the necessity of our times – we truly live in a global community.