Catherine St. Respite Center in Lower Manhattan desperately needed some sprucing up. As a shelter for disenfranchised children and adults, many of the residents stay at the shelter for extended periods of time. With this in mind, See ChangeNYC and the New York City Department of Design and Construction approached Alfalfa Studio about creating a bright interior mural that would act as a learning tool in addition to improving an otherwise depressing space. When the design firm approached the project, it also sought to give residents a sense of ownership of the cafeteria.
The result is a colorful mural that features bodies filled with healthy fruits and vegetables, such as oranges and mushrooms, as well as calendar months and comments from the center’s residents, such as “If I had a super power, I would like to be able to run really fast.”
Throughout my professional career as a designer, projects like this have given me the greatest personal satisfaction. To create something that enriches the lives of people in need, like this mural, reminds me that design, beyond its commercial uses, can also bring inspiration, hope and change.
Watch a video about the project below.
Creatives have a lot of power to impact change through their work. If you want to learn more about getting started brainstorming and executing socially minded projects, check out Mark Randall’s Design Ignites Change mp3.