Paint Club

Paint Club, our gateway program, is an innovative after-school program for at-risk middle and high school students. Participants transform their own institutional-looking schools and nearby community facilities by painting them with vibrant colors that they’ve selected together. The project inspires a sense of ownership and pride resulting in a deeper connection to education. As students transform their schools, they begin to transform themselves. Principals cherish the new sense of community Publicolor forms and the culture of high expectations and determination we bring to each school.


During the week Paint Club functions as an after-school program managed by highly trained Publicolor staff and focuses exclusively on working with the students whose schools we’re transforming. On Saturdays, Publicolor students, parents, teachers and volunteers paint side by side. Publicolor encourages our volunteers to talk about their jobs and the education they need to do their work. Research confirms that this type of high-level conversation between students and adults is a better predictor of academic performance than family income. Math and literacy are embedded in all of our activities, and our project-based curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards. Through learning commercial painting and working as a team, students develop critical thinking, resilience, confidence,and productive work habits.


1,200 underperforming middle or high school students participate annually. 100% of our students are involved in service projects that revitalize their schools and communities. 12 schools throughout the five boroughs are transformed every year, changing not only the physical environment, but also the school culture for thousands of students and teachers. 90% of teachers surveyed reported that their expectations of Publicolor participants improved since the beginning of the program after seeing them productively engaged in a school-wide service initiative. For more information contact  Cara Spitzer, Paint Club Community Relations Manager