How did Green Star Movement get started?

After working as an after-school arts instructor for several years, Founder and CEO Kamelia Hristeva recognized that not only were students in underserved areas eager for meaningful opportunities to be creative, but the school buildings themselves and the neighborhoods they were in were often uninspiring, unattractive, and neglected. From this starting point, the idea for Green Star Movement, an organization that would transform and inspire students and communities through the creation of public art, was born.

When was Green Star Movement founded?

The organization was incorporated in 2005.

How big is GSM’s staff?

Currently, Green Star Movement’s staff is comprised of 9 people: 2 administrative staff members and 8 teaching artists.


What does Green Star Movement’s program aim to accomplish?

Our program helps students and community members create bricolage murals at their schools, parks, community centers, and other public spaces. This interactive process builds teamwork and confidence in the participants, helps them connect with others, and pushes them to challenge themselves, all while revitalizing urban communities.

What is bricolage?

Bricolage murals are an intricate combination of tile and mirror mosaic, sculpture, painting, and photographs.

Why work with bricolage?

Bricolage is advantageous for three distinct reasons:

  • It is an accessible art form for artists of all ages and abilities.
  • It is incredibly durable and resistant to vandalization, making it a good choice for permanent public art.
  • The mix of textures, shapes, materials, and colors is visually dynamic and inspiring.

What is the age range for program participants?

We work primarily with 4th-12th grade students, however some community programs have participants ages 8 to 80!

How many people can participate in a project?

We can tailor our program for small or large groups, entire grade levels, or the whole student body.

Who designs the murals?

While school administration or neighborhood associations usually identify key themes for the murals, program participants conceive of the specific design elements with support from our teaching artists.

How does Green Star Movement choose which schools or communities to work with?

Green Star Movement prioritizes schools and communities that have little or limited access to arts opportunities. However, we strive to serve all schools and communities that would benefit from our program.

How can I get Green Star Movement at my school/in my community?

First, contact us so we can learn more about your goals for the program and what resources are available for its execution at your site. Once we have that information, we can develop a plan, budget, and schedule that fits your needs.

How long does the program last?

Our program is flexible and can range from 6 weeks to a year, depending on the size and scope of the mural and the amount of instructional time requested of our staff.

Does Green Star Movement only run its program in Chicago?

No! While we are Chicago-based and primarily run programming here, we are aiming to expand and have completed projects both out of state and internationally.

How are the murals maintained after completion?

Due to the nature of bricolage work, our murals need maintenance rarely, if ever. However, we are able to offer touch ups if necessary.


How do participants and communities benefit from the program?

Green Star Movement projects are a catalyst for positive change in individuals, communities, and neighborhoods. Participants benefit from the opportunities for self-expression and collaboration; educators can capitalize on the creative and community-building nature of the projects to improve school culture; and neighborhood residents can take pride in their beautified environment.

How many public spaces has Green Star Movement transformed with public art?

To date, Green Star Movement has installed murals in more than 70 public spaces in Chicago and abroad.

How many students does Green Star Movement serve annually?

We serve 1600+ students each year.


How is Green Star Movement funded?

Our projects are funded through a combination of grants, partnership support, and fundraising.

In some cases clients fundraise and secure grant funding entirely on their own to cover the cost of the program, in other cases we collaborate with clients to co-write grants or secure funding partners. In a few circumstances, Green Star Movement is able to secure funding entirely on our own through grants and sponsorships so we can administer the program where there is a great need.

What percentage of the budget goes to direct program expenses?

About 80% of our annual budget covers program expenses.

Besides program income, how else does Green Star Movement cover its costs?

We raise money through donations and grants and we earn additional income by offering public and private mosaic classes and doing commercial bricolage mural work.

How much does the program cost?

The cost of the program depends on the size and scope of the mural and the amount of instructional time requested of our staff.

Getting Involved

What volunteer opportunities are available with Green Star Movement?

Whether you desire to work directly with youth and community members at a program site, learn more about the intricacies of nonprofit and arts program management as an intern, or support the larger goals of the organization as a board or committee member, we have an opportunity that will fit both your interests and schedule.

In what ways can corporations or companies support Green Star Movement?

We offer group volunteer opportunities for companies to work on site with us as well as private mosaic classes that we can bring to your office. Both are wonderful team-building opportunities and support the mission and goals of the organization. For companies looking to make a bigger social impact, helping to sponsor a program means we can serve even more students and communities with our transformative programming.