Updated: Mar 22
A success story of murals, place-making, business revitalization, and culture transformation.
Mural by Ruben Rojas and Cloe Hakakian
Once upon a time there was a street dubbed “Stinkin’ Lincoln,” named after a run down and dreary street on the west side of Los Angeles. That street is Lincoln Blvd. Evan Meyer, a local Santa Monica resident decided to take action and coordinate murals on dozens of walls on this street in Santa Monica and Venice. Others followed suit around the country, labeling their own “Beautify” projects after their street, town, or city. And there the movement was born – The team formed a 501(c)3 non-profit, and became Beautify Earth. It all started right here in our hometown of lovely Santa Monica.
“Thank you for turning the boring into the beautiful, and building a strong community movement along the way”
– Ted Winterer, Mayor of Santa Monica
While there are wonderful areas to live and enjoy Santa Monica, there are many areas that still need some extra support, and may be struggling to stay afloat – both businesses and communities.
So from a few sparse murals throughout the city, to over 130 targeted murals in just a few years, the City of Santa Monica, many of it’s commissions, business improvement/neighborhood groups, and local NGO’s have proven what is means to lead by example by supporting this movement to transform our blighted, boring and bland walls in these areas. Thanks to this widespread support in the values and mission of our organization, and from those who see and feel the impact we create in Santa Monica and beyond, we were nominated by Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, and are the recipients of this amazing statewide honor.
(Most of our murals in Santa Monica can now be viewed here, on the Travel and Tourism Website thanks to their wonderful partnership. Full mapping of the murals are available for each neighborhood as well)
“Beautify Earth has beautified Santa Monica’s bleakest blank walls with startling creativity that delights the eye, warms the heart and captures the imagination”
– Rick Cole, City Manager of Santa Monica
Over a period of a few years, Beautify Earth has facilitated over 130 murals on walls in need in Santa Monica alone. Santa Monica is now considered a street-art-welcome city, with press even touting “mural mecca.” Importantly, the Murals have transformed Lincoln Blvd and Pico Blvd.
With multiple pilot programs on Lincoln Blvd and Montana Ave, multiple neighborhood letters of support, and unanimous council approval, BE spearheaded the development of a utility box art program by the city.
“Beautify Earth is such a wonderful representation of the creative spirit and innovative thinking that is alive and well in Santa Monica”
– Misti Kerns, CEO/Santa Monica Travel and Tourism
Community Engagement & Volunteer Paint Days
A gift to our hometown
A message to us all
SMASH – Painting with the little ones
“Beautify Earth’s work has increased my business revenue up by 50% and driven traffic with people who would never have noticed us otherwise”
– Benny Escobar, Owner of Metropolitan Cleaners, Lincoln Blvd
20% increase in business revenue
25% increase in foot traffic
95% drop in graffiti and associated repainting costs
Vandalism costs are continuously higher than creating murals, which are more respected by vandals and require minimal maintenance
Revitalization and economic development of neighborhoods like Lincoln, Pico, and Mid-City
Littering is reduced through general upkeep and pride of maintained areas
Businesses move into maintained areas
Ex-mayor Pam O’Connor Letter of support for artistic facades on Starbucks and local businesses
State Senator Ben Allen Letter of support for artistic facades on schools in the district & Certificate of recognition
—Local Resident Letter of support for why he stayed in Santa Monica —Economic Impact Analysis
Measuring economic growth on Lincoln Blvd —Mid City Neighborhood Organization
Letter of support and request for funds for turning “blight to beauty” —Pico Improvement Association
We’re connecting neighborhoods, residents, tourists, businesses and government, inspiring people to get involved, and improving the well-being of our citizens and vibrancy of our communities through:
PARTICIPATION From community paint days, to civic engagement workshops through our Civic Love program, we have “activated” Santa Monica and our residents to participate in impactful public art projects.
TOURISM Tourists see murals as an attraction, which add invaluable, viral social media marketing for the City.
EDUCATION Children are positively impacted by co-creating inspiring murals on bland walls in their school, teaching kids that change is within their own hands.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Santa Monica College offers a Beautify Earth, experiential learning component to their public policy course, enabling students to be out in the field, improve their own community, and think through the policy opportunities for maintaining “thoughtful” streets.
What would you like to do?