Street art serves many purposes. A well-placed masterpiece beautifies a neighborhood, builds community pride, and provides opportunities for artists to share their talents with masses of people.

Artist: Sparrow Uganda  Location: Kiryandongo, Uganda

Artist: Sparrow Uganda  Location: Kiryandongo, Uganda

Around the world, people are drawn into the messages conveyed on the sides of unsuspecting buildings, often surprised by their own emotional response to these treasures built by talented hands.

Artist: Dwain Whitaker  Location: Chibolya, Zambia

Artist: Dwain Whitaker Location: Chibolya, Zambia

During a yearlong global journey to learn and share about mental health, Chicago area school teacher Nancy Bartosz is committed to engaging communities in mental health conversations while finding ways to share hope through a variety of partnerships and touchstone projects with international nonprofit organizations and street artists.

In the first half of her Hope Travels journey, Nancy, along with mission partner Jason Everett, have collaborated with artists in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Northern Iraq, and Jordan to create HOPE murals, which are often placed in impoverished areas and often provide interactive opportunities for youth involvement.

Artist: Rach  Location: Kigali, Rwanda

While participating in the recent Afri-cans Street Art Festival in Kampala, Uganda, children eagerly learned painting techniques while working together to create a collective mural in their local community. As they pass the mural each day, there is HOPE that they will feel pride in the artistic design and message from their own hands.

Artist: Rach and Kitintale Children Location: Kitintale, Uganda
Artist: Rach and Kitintale Children Location: Kitintale, Uganda

Artist: Rach and Kitintale Children  Location: Kitintale, Uganda

During a recent project in Kurdistan/Iraq, Jason built a collaborative project between artists in Iowa, USA with artists from Erbil, Iraq. Each artist used their unique artistic style to create one letter for the word HOPE. The final designs are a portable installation that will be showcased during community events and at historic sights in each country.

Artists and Locations:

Letter H: Melissa Marie Collins, Cedar Rapid, Iowa

Letter O: Awa H. Bakr, Erbil, Kurdistan/Iraq

Letter P: Vanila Van, Erbil, Kurdistan/Iraq

Letter E: Mike Stenerson, Iowa City, Iowa

Street art is only one component of the mental health advocacy and outreach program, Nancy has shared the work of Chicago nonprofit Hope for the Day and built strong relationships with local artists who have used their talents to support their message of hope and mantra that “It’s ok not to be ok.” Jason continues work from the US to develop upcoming partnerships for murals that connect the talents of artists in the United States and beyond. Through these partnerships, connected and collaborative murals will span the globe sharing hope.

As the project continues into other countries throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, local artists will be invited to participate in the program which includes having their work highlighted in a future photography expo that will be held at Sip of Hope Cafe, Hope for the Day’s social enterprise which raises 100% of their profits for suicide prevention and proactive mental health education programs.

Artist: Mira Graff  Location: Halabja, Kurdistan/Iraq

Artist: Aiub Baqi  Location: Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan/Iraq

If you are an artist interested in public art who would like to become a partner in this project, please contact Nancy at You are also follow her blog at or join the Hope Travels Facebook group at  

Spread hope: 

Sharing Global Hope One Mural at a Time