Cart 0

So, what have we accomplished?


Since our inception in 2009…

Mark Making has worked with over 2,600 individuals including inner-city youth, teens in foster care, people with mental and developmental disabilities, the homeless, and the incarcerated. We have completed more than seventy public art projects, and paid over $163,000 to professional artists and about $30,000 in stipends to teens in East Chattanooga through our Magic Marker work-readiness initiative. We’ve partnered with over 100 organizations including government agencies, schools, foundations, programs, neighborhood associations, homeless ministries, churches, for-profits, and nonprofits.

Though we are proud of these numbers, we feel that the intrinsic value generated in our programs is what leaves the biggest mark. The breakthroughs and realizations of one’s power provoked by having ones marks and voice be seen and heard by the larger community is what drives our work.

We’ve watched children take ownership of their murals and the physical spaces they inhabit, valuing themselves and their work as an important part of the city. We’ve witnessed inmates recognize their role as a citizen, feeling valued for beautifying our neighborhoods. We’ve worked with teens in foster care, feel seen and heard by the entire community, recognizing the power their words carry. We’ve worked with many who have never believed themselves to be “artists”, begin to truly feel the impact that their marks and actions can generate in their communities. These invaluable moments are the building blocks of an innovative, progressive city brimming with citizens who affect and advocate for an equitable future for themselves and their fellow community members.

As the opportunity to affect the visual landscape of the community is often a privilege relegated to politicians, professional artists, and business owners, the ability to influence the physical appearance of a neighborhood represents the capacity to affect political, economic, environmental, and personal change, not only for the artists, but those who view the public art work as well. Mark Making seeks to facilitate projects that prompt marginalized populations and the community at large to reconsider assumptions about civic participation, advocacy, and our own abilities, encouraging progress toward a more inclusive, equitable society.

8 Sankofa.JPG


Program participants


Art installations



Paid in teen stipends


paid to local artists


participant survey responses:

“I’m more than proud [of the mural] because we are actually making a difference.” -Eric Henderson, Howard High School

“It’s something I can do for Chattanooga.” -Danielle, Howard High School

“I learned to share ideas with my peers to create something beautiful that has meaning for the community.”         -Denisse, Howard High School

“There is much you can do to save your neighborhood.” -Brainerd student

“i learned that you can Use your imagination to create hope.” -Orchard Knob Middle student

“I think anytime a child can create a sense of community is a good thing. It’s important to include them in the process.” -Sandy Cole, UTC Center for Community Career Education director

“[I learned] that, even if you think it’s not you, you never know ‘til you try- and there are many talents unexplored.” –Robert, former inmate in the Hamilton County Jail

“I learned how to pace myself when dealing with something new to me and that with every stroke of color brings a smile to someone else’s future.” -Lathe, former inmate in the Hamilton County Jail

“[I learned] to be patient with others and that I should be grateful for simple pleasures that art brings into one’s life.” -Charles, former inmate in the Hamilton County Jail

“Mark Making murals draw attention to buildings and add a cultural/art aspect to the community. They imply a great sense of vitality and feels like hope rising. They make my eyes so happy and give me great joy in the moment of sight.” Responder to survey taken during the Bessie Smith Strut


Help us empower.