Mayor Adams Teams Up With Lisa Project NYC For 50 Years Of Hip Hop Murals From Harlem To Hollis

June 16, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced a formal partnership with LISA Project NYC to create 50 murals celebrating 50 years of hip hop from Harlem to Hollis.

As the birthplace of this cultural movement, New York City is celebrating 50 years of history through the medium of street art, a defining aspect of hip-hop culture. Artists will be curated by LISA Project NYC with consulting curation from Marie Flageul, John “Crash” Matos, and the City of New York. Murals will start going up at the start of July and continue through Labor Day. All locations are being scouted through LISA Project NYC, which will also host five future free block parties and artist roundtables alongside the murals over the course of the year, one for each borough. LISA Project NYC is currently in talks with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York City Department of Media and Entertainment (MOME), and local business improvement districts to discuss locations for murals and block parties. Neighborhood and artist selections will be announced soon.

“When hip hop was first born in the South Bronx, it gave a voice to the voiceless,” said Mayor Adams. “That voice took the form of not just rhymes and raps, but also visual street art that decorated and inspired New York City. I am proud that our city is working with local nonprofit LISA Project NYC to spread public art throughout every borough, while celebrating the global cultural force that began right here on our streets.”

“From beatboxing and breakdancing to rhythms and rhymes, hip hop taught people how to turn their pain into purpose and tell stories of starting from the bottom and making to the top,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “Street art helped New Yorkers nearly 50 years ago express themselves, and, today, we are celebrating that tradition. The Adams administration is proud to partner with LISA Project NYC to spread love and art across our city, celebrating the rich history of hip hop.”


“As a proud Bronx native and devoted hip hop enthusiast, it is truly an honor to collaborate with the City of New York and the mayor’s office in commemorating the 50th anniversary of this cultural phenomenon, hip hop, through public art,” said Rey Rosa, co-founder and chief operating officer, LISA Project NYC. “The LISA Project NYC is thrilled to showcase the vibrancy and diversity of hip hop culture in all five boroughs, and we look forward to inspiring the next generation of artists and creatives through this celebration.”

“I am incredibly honored to curate and produce the public art component for the momentous 50th-anniversary celebration of hip hop,” said Wayne Rada, executive director and curator, LISA Project NYC. “This initiative is a testament to the transformative power of art and its ability to connect communities, celebrate cultural legacies, and inspire generations. Through the uniqueness of graffiti art, we aim to pay homage to the pioneers and trailblazers of hip-hop, while creating immersive experiences that leave a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of all who encounter them. Join us as we come together to honor this extraordinary milestone and ignite a new wave of creativity and unity.”

“The arts inspire and fill the souls of our children, and nothing indicates that better than the origin story of hip hop,” said New York City Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks. “Hip hop started in New York City public schools with students breaking the boundaries of self-expression. It is an honor to celebrate 50 years of hip hop and the impact it has had on our schools, our education system, and our world.”


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“I was there at the birth of hip hop,” said New York City Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Keith Howard. “Living in the Bronx, you could walk to Cedar Park to witness DJ Kool Herc drown out all challenges with his tower speakers, or wait for LL Cool J’s response to Canibus and crush it. Let’s salute the hip hop legends and support hip hop evolution. We are excited to see this citywide collection of murals by Lisa Project NYC and believe it will continue to inspire the youth of our city to uplift their talents, providing them with a glimpse into the history of what truly is one of the most influential genres of all time.”

“The history of hip hop is inextricably tied to creative NYCHA residents — some of whom founded and cultivated hip hop from its origins at NYCHA’s Sedgwick Houses to the global culture it is today,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Like LISA Project NYC, NYCHA celebrates the power of art and community-building through mural projects at many of our properties. We are excited about this new partnership between LISA Project NYC and the City of New York and look forward to collaborating with the city around these 50 murals.”

“Hip hop in New York City gave rise to a new intersection of art and commerce that transformed our neighborhoods and helped artists become entrepreneurs,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “Small Business Services is excited to be working with LISA Project NYC and agency partners to celebrate hip hop and its contributions to bringing equity into the city’s economy.”

“Fifty years ago, the trailblazers of hip hop ignited a movement that uplifted communities and transformed our culture,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “This wonderful partnership will beautify our streetscape and showcase how street art enhances New York’s vibrant public space. We thank Mayor Adams, our sister agencies, and LISA Project NYC for their collaboration on this creative initiative.”   

The LISA Project NYC is a public art charity dedicated to transforming urban spaces through captivating street, graffiti, and contemporary art murals. By partnering with acclaimed artists, property owners, prestigious brands, and community organizations, LISA Project NYC has been instrumental in revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering civic pride, and creating powerful connections between art and communities. With an unwavering commitment to inclusivity, creativity, and social impact, LISA Project NYC continues to push the boundaries of public art, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of New York City and beyond. Consulting with LISA Project NYC on the murals are Marie Flageul — a visionary curator and hip hop culture advocate renowned for her work at 5ptz, Long Island City, and the Museum of Street Art — as well as Bronx native John “Crash” Matos — a legendary graffiti artist known for his explosive vibrant style and lasting impact on the urban art scene.

Photo credit: Harlem rapper Big L.

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