Mural(iz)Arte – Urban Art as an engine of inclusion

Matosinhos, Portugal Local social sustainability, Target groups of housing


Mural(iz)Arte is an urban art project sponsored since 2018 which aims to mobilize the community to enhance the public space of social neighborhoods. The celebration of the 20th anniversary of MatosinhosHabit – MH – EM – Empresa Municipal de Habitação de Matosinhos, was the perfect opportunity to (re)color housing estates teaming up a multidisciplinary group of coworkers, residents and the general population by using network and partnership tools.

The population residing in social districts and local institutions have actively participated in making the artistic mural. They´ve marked their identity in the project proposal with characteristic features of the territory and of people, chosen by themselves, namely monuments, traditions and historical figures, as well as, in the authorship of the painting, made under the supervision of a recognized artist in the community with the purpose of having a positive occupation of public space.


During the implementation at least two sessions took place, lasting approximately 3 to 4 days. In the first, an extended meeting was held to discuss the concept of the Mural (iz) art and, in the second, the mural´s creation, extending the same plan to the all the other contemplated places.

First, monitored by the artistic responsible, the group in charge of painting meets. They presented their ideas and suggestions and defined the final model of the drawing/painting. After that, the participants were introduced to the working methods/techniques, the handling of materials such as paints, sprays, brushes/rollers and others. They were also sensitized to possible incidents in graffiti and manual painting. An effort was made to demystify the association of this art form with public vandalism. Using introductory theory and practical demonstrations the group trained on a large-sized scenario paper.

Finally, the artistic mural was painted in the community and mostly outdoors.

The used structures vary from housing building and institutions building walls to other kind of spaces, all needing rehabilitation and for community use.

Issues tackled

Before the mural started, residents participated in sessions to understand the concept of the project, addressing issues such as group work, leadership, community work and artistic techniques.

Actors involved

  • Rede Social de Matosinhos
  • Câmara Municipal de Matosinhos

Actions carried out

  • Mural(iz)Arte - Angeiras
  • Mural(iz)Arte - Chouso
  • Mural(iz)Arte - Custió
  • Mural(iz)Arte - Recarei
  • Mural(iz)Arte - São Gens
  • Mural(iz)Arte - Biquinha
  • Mural(iz)Arte - Sendim


The program goals were achieved reaching high visibility in society and the media. The expectations and participants satisfaction were clearly noticed both during the execution and by formal and public demonstrations.

Seven murals were already created in the municipality of Matosinhos under this project, representing the direct participation of 150 people, including children, young people, seniors, residents and dozens of local institutions and bringing indirect social benefits for the entire population.

Once the work is completed, the final results can be enjoyed by the entire community, without restrictions, perpetuating itself in time and space. So far all works of art have been preserved, without any changes registered, which reinforces the community’s spirit of belonging.

Why it works

Positive occupation of the public space;

• Enhancement of social cohesion, socialization and informal social control;

• Promotion of intergenerational relationships;

• Reinforcement of the social responsibility principles;

• Association of varied audiences, characterized by plural sociodemographic elements, namely residents in municipal housing and the population in general;

• Exposure of participants to differentiating art concepts;

• Raising awareness of the distinction between the concept of graffiti art and public vandalism;

• Valuation of cultural and recreational habits;

• Development of collaborative and network-based work;

• Bringing MatosinhosHabit closer to it´s target audience.