Family Interrupted

About The Project


Eric Okdeh

Completion Date

1 June 2012


709 West Dauphin Street

Photo by Mike Reali

One in every 28 U.S. children—or 2.7 million—has a parent behind bars and 23% of students with incarcerated parents are expelled from school, compared to 4% for the general population.

2010 PewResearchCenter Economic Mobility Project study “Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s effect on Economic Mobility”

For many, the justice system is a one-way street, where loved ones are locked away, serving time in isolation without outlets to express their emotions, offer regrets, or make amends to the communities and families they have harmed.

Mural Arts’ latest multidisciplinary project, Family Interrupted, sparks a dialogue around the impact of incarceration on families and the community at large through the mural-making process. We will transform a wall on Dauphin Street in North Philadelphia, creating a new work designed by muralist Eric Okdeh, with input from inmates, probationers, and ex-inmates, including the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Philadelphia Prison System, adjudicated youth, and community and family members.


Interactive Mailboxes

Colorfully painted mailboxes will dot pre-selected locations in affected neighborhoods and visiting rooms of prisons and juvenile facilities. They will also contain practical information about the impact of incarceration on families and communities, and give people the opportunity to send messages from inmates, community members, policymakers, and others, which will be used in mural and on the project’s website.