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Can Art Change The World? The Butterfly Effect Mural Comes to Alexandria

Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker receives help from volunteers to paint the Butterfly Effect mural. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

By Kelly MacConomy

Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker created an innovative fundraising event for Alexandria nonprofits that resulted in a dozen volunteers painting a giant butterfly on the wall at the corner of King and Patrick Streets on the hottest day of the year.

The installation, which is made possible by funding from Tasha Wall, founder of the Butterfly Effect, and ACT for Alexandria, inspires people to recognize and embrace the power of positive change by facilitating small acts of kindness and generosity that will lead to greater moments of creativity and humanity. Tasha created The Butterfly Effect based on the Ghandi quote about being the change you wish to see.

Volunteers paint the butterfly mural that served as a fundraiser for ACT for Alexandria. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

The Butterfly Effect promotes public art and philanthropy by facilitating the creation of butterfly paintings in public places that lend themselves to selfies and Instagram posts. Photographers then email their pictures to [email protected] with the name of the charity they choose in the subject line, or text them to 202-681-7594. A donation will be made in their honor. For a chance to win an extra $500 donation, tag @elizabethforalx and include the hashtags #inclusiveALX and #butterflyeffect. The list of over 250 local and national participating charities can be found at

Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker studies her design while she leads volunteers. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

“I’m excited to bring The Butterfly Effect to Alexandria because it will build community, promote vibrancy on upper King Street, and highlight nonprofits in a fun, interactive way,” Bennett-Parker said. “I’m thankful to Tasha Wahl for her vision in starting this global project and for choosing Alexandria; to Asana Partners and Bloomers for providing the space for the mural; and to the members of the community who will bring it to life.” The FUNdraising project will end on September 8 but the mural will stay indefinitely.

Volunteers began their morning by applying hundreds of pieces of tape to four stencils each approximately four by six feet. The stencils were placed on the wall on the Patrick Street side of Bloomers, a base coat was painted on, the stencils were removed, and volunteer artists painted in the butterfly.

Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker with Brian Kelly, Heather Peeler, and Tamsin Green. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker first learned about the Butterfly Effect on Instagram and applied for the opportunity to bring a mural to Alexandria. After being selected by Ms. Wahl earlier this year, Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker worked with her to customize the mural by including the phrase “Be the Change You Want to See in the World” in additional languages (Spanish and Arabic), as well as the hashtag #InclusiveALX.

Putting the finishing touches on the mural. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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