New Jersey's capital city is beginning a mural arts project, and officials are hoping the idea will spread around the state.

The first mural will be painted on the side of the 19th-century Home Rubber Company building in Trenton. Supporters envision it as the first step towards a vibrant murals program.

Phil DeRose, a volunteer with the group Artworks, said the mural arts project can produce a variety of benefits.

"I'm hoping that we create community dialogue," he said Friday. "There is an element of making old buildings more attractive and reducing blight and to add more elements to our offerings for tourism can certainly have a great economic effect."

The project is modeled on Philadelphia's mural arts program which has resulted in more than 3,500 paintings and a significant tourist attraction throughout the city. Jane Golden, the executive director of Philadelphia's program, said similar efforts could be a catalyst for change in urban areas in New Jersey.

"We connect the community development corporation, the business community, and neighbors. And we help become a tool of advocacy so people can lobby for others things," said Golden. "We work to try to bring tenants in. We unite architects and artists and designers to do work that goes just beyond a mural on a wall."

Other New Jersey cities have expressed an interest in starting a murals program.