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Powerful Black Lives Matter Murals Are Popping Up on Streets Across the U.S.

 

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Over a week ago, Washington, D.C.’s mayor commissioned a sprawling mural that spells out “Black Lives Matter;” now, cities across the nation are creating their own tributes to the movement. In some cities, artists have chosen to repeat the bold yellow block letters of the D.C. mural. In others, artists have taken their own liberties and gotten creative with the design. From Seattle to Albany, cities coast to coast are making sure their voices are heard with these proud visual statements.

Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed the statement piece in Washington on June 5 and since that time groups have been coming together across the country to create their own Black Lives Matter artwork. In Seattle, a large group of artists took a colorful approach to their work. Each letter was assigned to a different artist and they were left to make their mark individually. Artists in Charlotte, North Carolina took a similar approach to their sprawling mural on South Tryon Street.

Meanwhile, in Berkeley and Albany, artists used the effective yellow lettering that made an impact in D.C. on their murals. Location for the artwork is also key, with many pieces going up in strategic areas. Sacramento’s mural, which was initiated by the city council, is located on the Capitol Mall leading up to the capitol building. Murals in Dallas and Montpellier, Vermont have gone up in front of City Hall and the Vermont Statehouse, respectively. In Los Angeles, artists covered the street between the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a powerful message of solidarity with Black lives, including those within the LGBT+ community, with a colorful display of “All Black Lives Matter.”

We’ll continue to see more murals go up around the country, as a Black Lives Matter piece is set to be painted in Syracuse, New York on Friday. In New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that one mural would go up in each borough, the first mural has popped up on Brooklyn. Located in Bed-Stuy, the mural is not part of the mayor’s initiative, but was put together by city council members and the Billie Holiday Theatre.

“We thought that since this community has been historically Black, and it’s the last bastion of Black homeownership, the last bastion of Black small business, this will be the right place in New York City to begin the Black Lives Matter mural movement,” says City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr.

Though the murals make bold statements, some organizations like Black Lives Matter DC, have been critical of the work. Warning that these murals can be purely performative, they’re encouraging politicians to take concrete actions, like defunding the police, to assist with the movement.

Even so, these bold statements are clear visual reminders that Black Lives Matter is here to stay and that the demands of millions around the country cannot be ignored. Now is the time for change.

Across the U.S., Black Lives Matter murals are popping up as powerful statements against racism.

 

Seattle, Washington

 

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Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Brooklyn, New York

 

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Los Angeles, California

 

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Dallas, Texas

 

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Berkeley, California

 

Rochester, New York

 

Sacramento, California

 

Montepellier, Vermont

 

Raleigh, North Carolina

 

Topeka, Kansas

 

Denver, Colorado

 

Albany, New York

 

Oakland, California

 

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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