In these dull and difficult times, Beautify Earth is magnifying its mission of spreading colorful inspiring art with an ambitious aim of painting 100 walls in the Pico neighborhood and many more across the country.
The artwork not only brightens and uplifts the community but also has the benefits of drawing foot traffic to local businesses and deterring vandalism. So far the Beautify team has completed 40 murals in Pico and is working with the Pico Improvement Organization to solicit artists and funders for the 60 remaining Pico walls listed on its website.
“There’s an opportunity for people who want to take a stand and support the Pico community and help and help it thrive during this time,” said Beautify CEO Evan Meyer. “Corporations can also get involved, there’s this ‘back to the streets’ concept where bigger businesses can bring life back to the streets in support of smaller businesses.”
Meyer said corporations like Whole Foods, banks, and 99 cent stores in the neighborhood have done very well during the pandemic and have the opportunity to give back by sponsoring these mural creations.
The campaign for more murals on Pico also provides valuable employment opportunities for artists and an excellent public platform to showcase their work. Beautify strives to employ artists as locally as possible to maximize the community impact of its projects.
Over the past eight years, the organization has placed 10,000 murals in over 100 cities globally, including 130 in Santa Monica.
“In Santa Monica there’s already so many murals that are a little far apart, but if we can double that you’ll never be in eyeshot without looking at art and that’s part of the experience of making it this mural Mecca,” said Meyer.
According to Meyer, street art also has safety and community building benefits and has been shown to reduce tagging and vandalism in places by up to 95 percent. Cities like San Francisco have even given money to wall owners to paint murals as it can be cheaper than paying for graffiti maintenance.
“The Santa Monica police department has come and helped paint murals at John Adams Middle School on Pico Blvd. It helps bring the police to be part of the community in this new and exciting way,” said Meyer. “The Police Department is starting to recognize some of the essential nature of art, how it reduces crime in areas and reduces loitering and littering.”
Over the course of the pandemic Beautify has ramped up its projects and used mural messaging as a means to keep the community feeling connected. Several new pieces of artwork have racked up thousands of shares on social media and impart encouraging messages like ‘after the plague came the renaissance’, ‘togetherness!’, and ‘you can’t quarantine love’.
“I’m thinking about 2021 as the sort of healing opportunity,” said Meyer, who looks forward to an even greater expansion of mural projects. “To be able to increase the wellbeing in these spaces, I think is important the more we can put positive messaging and positive imagery, instead of boring, bland, or blighted walls,” said Meyer.
Those who want to get involved in Beautify’s campaign for new murals on Pico Blvd. can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Those wishing to sponsor a mural can explore available walls at