Jon Souza, Program Director

Jairo Sosa, Fellow Jon Souza is a Brazilian-American artist from Harlem, NYC. He is a graffiti/mural artist, emcee, producer, educator and cultural ambassador. Born and raised in New York, he started painting and recording music at an early age. His work focuses on using art and creativity as a medium for education, wellness, social justice and community building.

Jon is currently a Program Director at ArtBridge and an artist-in-residence at the Andrew Freedman Home. He was previously a Lead Artist and Art Director for Thrive Collective in NYC. From 2019 to 2021, Jon worked with NYC Health and Hospitals, installing artwork in over 20 hospitals around the city. In 2018 he was a Lead Artist for the NYC Mural Arts Project, working with the Department of Health using art to combat stigma associated with mental health. Jon has also worked as a Cultural Ambassador for the US Department of State’s Next Level program, teaching about Hip Hop art and culture to students around the world.

Jon’s introduction to painting and public art came from the strong influence of HipHop culture and Graffiti. His approach continues to draw from HipHop education and culturally relevant pedagogy. He has participated in several programs that use art to connect with communities and particular social issues such as the walls painted for the Black Lives Matter movement, the Stop Asian Hate initiative, and the Mental Health and Wellness campaign. Jon continues to study and find ways to use art for social justice.

He graduated with a MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2019. His focus there was advanced management and finance. He has since been applying these skills to art programs to promote and advocate for stronger impact and increased social value through art.