CREATOR OF PITTSBURGH BUILDS BRIDGES INITIATIVE
Ebtehal Badawi was born in Saudi Arabia. Since she was in 5th grade, she always knew that she wanted to be an artist. However, she took a different path and got a bachelor’s degree in biology from King Abdul-Aziz
Following that, she earned a master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. Her career path also included working as a teacher assistant. Still, she always felt that something was missing. After taking an interest in art therapy, she then took the required classes in Art and Psychology to pursue that speciality and it is still ongoing.
During her journey, she joined the Malian Art Institute and learned different techniques in painting. The first thing everyone notices about her art is that it is colorful and uplifting. Her art has a big influence on people. She designed a poster for anti-bullying and anti-racism which was posted in different schools in the Pittsburgh area. This was aimed at helping kids understand the power of unity. She was also a part of different art shows in Pittsburgh.
Ebtehal is not only an artist but also a writer and a photographer. She enjoys going and spending time in nature connecting with Mother Earth and writing about her experience.
Her goal as an artist is to create art that would uplift peoples’ souls and connect with more artists to share the beauty and the magic of art.
Ebtehal Badawi is also a 2022 Pittsburgh TEDx speaker.
Ebtehal Badawi is the creator of the Pittsburgh Builds Bridges initiative. She created this movement because her son endured bullying as a young child. According to the 2019 National Center for Educational Statistics, 1 out of 5 children experience bullying (That is 20% or one-fifth of all children). Due to this, Ebtehal began teaching acceptance and love to youth and adults through painting across Pittsburgh.
Along with bullying, Ebtehal quickly realized that many children and adults felt like outsiders in their community because of their race, gender, language barrier, beliefs, etc. She decided that Pittsburgh Builds Bridges was not just a social movement for anti-bullying but was also about inclusion, diversity, acceptance, and cultivating community.
Pittsburgh Builds Bridges has curated events that have brought together over 4,000 children and adults to create murals that embody unison and harmony and discuss how to build bridges in their communities.
These murals, dialogue, and awareness have taken place in all levels of grade schools from elementary to high schools, public and private. In addition to universities, and with actors, professional sports players, managers, and city offices.