The Audubon Mural Project
Stop. Look up and appreciate the wonderful birds.
The Audubon Mural Project started in northern Manhattan, in the fall of 2014. The project’s goal is to make people aware that climate change is real by commissioning artists to create a mural of an avian species threatened by global warming. Currently, the Audubon Society has identified 314 North American species of climate-threatened birds. As of September 2020, 117 murals have been created and are scattered throughout the Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights area. Many artists paint with the beauty and taste of the neighborhood or at the request of a store owner in mind. These colorful bird murals fill storefronts, roll-down gates, walls and building facades.
"Even if the project has not achieved its goal in raising awareness of climate change, it has succeeded in making people aware of our relationship with birds and our surroundings."
The project works on a tight budget, mostly funded by the National Audubon Society. The artists who are chosen do not paint these murals for the money. They receive painting supplies and are given a token payment in recognition for their artistic endeavors.
Over the past six years, Mr. Gitler and a crew of artful muralists have been painting giant scaled versions of endangered birds all over the neighborhood. They gleam with avian beauty and the people in the neighborhood absolutely love them. However, when asked what the murals represents, no one mentions climate change. Only that they appreciate the beauty of the artists work and can roam around the city and do a different kind of bird watching.
Even if the project has not achieved its goal in raising awareness of climate change, it has succeeded in making people aware of our relationship with birds and our surroundings. These murals are a reminder that we share the same space and we need these spaces to keep ourselves healthy in order to thrive.