The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is redecorating — and making a powerful statement about freedom of expression.

Art for the People,” a new exhibition on the exterior walls of the U.S. Embassy in China, showcases 23 popular works of American street art, reproduced in partnership with the original artists. Their styles and subjects reflect the diversity of the United States, with pieces highlighting American pioneers such as Muhammad Ali and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as indigenous Native and Hispanic communities.

Painting murals on buildings and for special exhibits in city parks and museums is a growing trend across the United States and around the world. Vandalizing property with graffiti is still illegal, but many American cities have designated specific public places for street art. More businesses, neighborhoods, and local governments are commissioning artists to create outdoor art for the people.

These artists transform blank spaces into colorful displays, with permission from building owners and the freedom to share ideas and express themselves creatively.

Mural with Art for the People logo (State Dept.)
The Art for the People logo on a wall of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (State Dept.)

The U.S. Embassy’s innovative art project illustrates these fundamental American values of freedom of speech and expression, as well as the ongoing U.S. commitment to public diplomacy and direct outreach to the people of China.

“We want a U.S.-China relationship that includes space for direct, honest, and robust public engagement,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “Art for the People represents the diversity of American society. It also embodies our deep commitment to genuine exchange with the Chinese people.”

The outdoor exhibition is open to the public and will be on display for six months. No entrance ticket or invitation is required; all you need are comfortable shoes for a stroll around the embassy.

People in street biking past murals on embassy walls (State Dept.)
West side of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (State Dept.)