CINCINNATI – Local artists will spend the next two days painting a mural of Black Lives Matter on Plum Street between 8th and 9th streets in downtown. Their work began Wednesday evening as soon as they learned the city council had voted to approve the project.
“We want this to be a moment of healing and a moment of the next place,” said Alandes Powell after weeks of fear and unrest over nationwide protests against police brutality.
The mural was her idea. Powell, a former Urban League chairman, admitted that racial inequality requires more than symbolic solutions – but she believes symbols still have power.
With a diverse group of volunteers participating in the project, each letter of the cross-street “Black Lives Matter” on the mural is painted by a different black artist from the Cincinnati area. According to Powell, the paint will last about five years. If the message is not carried out by 2025, it will press for repainting.
“It in no way solves racism,” said Alderman Greg Landsman. “However, it should be a reminder over the next few weeks of the kind of serious changes we need to make.”
Powell thinks it’s the bat signal, she said: Bright, attention-grabbing message that Cincinnati needs help.
The Urban League raised nearly $ 100,000 through GoFundMe to help make the project a reality. Some of this money is used to pay the artists and to cover the cost of their supplies. What’s left when the project finishes on Friday will go towards Black Art Speaks, an initiative to create art that depicts issues such as race and justice across the city.
“I want people to understand the stories and listen to each other as allies to understand them, and I think this will change people’s hearts,” she said. “Especially people who just aren’t engaged.”