More than a Mural: The Intersection of Public Art, Immigrant Youth, and Human Rights

How to Cite

Gutiérrez-Vicario, M. A. (2016). More than a Mural: The Intersection of Public Art, Immigrant Youth, and Human Rights. Radical Teacher, 104, 55–61.


“….What makes somebody an American is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story.”

-U.S. President Barack Obama, January 2013


I am most interested in exploring the idea of the construction of global citizenship and engagement around human rights education of young immigrant youth through the arts, particularly public art in the form of muralism. I will use some of the work of Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), an organization that engages young people around human rights through the arts, as a case study. Some questions that may be explored include:

  • How can educators break down unfamiliar human rights jargon and demonstrate the relevance of human rights on both a local and global level to young immigrant youth?  
  • How can young people be galvanized into exploring the human rights of their home countries and the countries they have immigrated to, utilizing the arts?
  • How can art be used to cultivate global understanding and human rights education among young people, most specifically through public art?
  • In efforts for communities to construct more democratic public spaces, one often finds that these spaces manifest themselves as murals or similar forms of public art. What are more creative ways of building a more democratic form of community art? What are more creative ways for young immigrant youth to develop a sense of belonging through the arts?  

Overall, this proposal seeks to explore the intersection between public art, human rights education/global competency, and immigrant youth empowerment. The proposal will discuss the involvement of immigrant youth, predominately from Latin America, in various art projects, as they explore their own sense of identity and belonging in New York City.


“About Us.” Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE). Web. 15 July 2015.

“Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.” Migration Policy. Web. 15 July 2015.

“High School Quality Snapshot (24Q296).” Pan American International High School. Web. 15 July 2015.


“Immigration Detention – Jailed without Justice.” Amnesty International USA. Web. 15 July 2015.

“More Foreign-Born Immigrants Live in NYC Than There Are People In Chicago.” The Huffington Post. Web. 15 July 2015.

“Official Site of El Teatro Campesino. El Teatro Campesino. Web. 15 July 2015.

“Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” 29 January 2013. Office of the White House Press Secretary. Web. 15 July 2015.

“Voice Our Concern.” Amnesty International Ireland. Web. 15 July 2015.