Meet the 2018 Fellows: Ciara Williams 

The FAO Schwarz Fellowship has allowed me to continue my involvement in areas of deep importance to me. I was first exposed to environmental justice through community organizing in my hometown of Chester, PA.

That experience helped me to develop as an activist and action researcher while also laying a foundation that has supported my development in other fields. The Fellowship’s focus on direct service and special project work creates a structure upon which I can apply the interests and skills I am already practiced in while also supporting my growth in new areas.

My host organization, Mural Arts Philadelphia, is committed to supporting my growth and creating opportunities for my strengths to make an impact on communities. I feel confident that my interests and abilities will continue to shape what my work will look like within Mural Arts’ Restored Spaces Initiative. Through this work, I have been exposed to a model of community engagement that operates at the intersection of public art, self-determination, and the built environment. I feel like this practice is truly unique to Restored Spaces and I am so thankful to be in a position where I can take part in our projects as they unfold.

Ciara Williams is the FAO Schwarz Fellow at Mural Arts in Philadelphia where she works with the Restored Spaces Initiative. She serves as an environmental educator for Trash Academy, a “collaboratory” that brings together community members in Southeast Philly, artists and environmental activists.

The project seeks to inspire a wellspring of actions around trash issues and tests and shares the best grassroots solutions that emerge. Ciara is from Chester, Pennsylvania and graduated from Swarthmore with a degree in Education and Environmental Studies. Before coming to Mural Arts Philadelphia, she managed the Chester Youth Courts, a youth-led disciplinary model rooted in restorative justice and was also the garden manager at an elementary school where she focused on science-based garden instruction.