Minneapolis, MN – Nearly two months after the brutal police killing of George Floyd, a massive ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural was painted in North Minneapolis on the street in front of Minnesota’s only Black History Museum. More than a dozen local artists, some with the help of their friends and family, came together to paint the 16 letters in the statement “Black Lives Matter“.
Unicorn Riot was live as the mural was being finished on July 18, 2020. We spoke to four of the artists: Charles and Kenneth Caldwell; DeSean Hollie; and seangarrison (Sean G Phillips). We also interviewed Tina Burnside, the co-founder of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG). See the video below.
The mural starts in front of the museum on Plymouth and Penn Avenue and goes east on Plymouth towards the Minneapolis 4th Police Precinct.
“This is a historic public art event to support the fight against systemic racism and police brutality against Black people in this country […] The museum also affirms that Black lives are sacred and urges a stop to the violence in the community.” — Tina Burnside, curator & co-founder, Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery
The artists who participated and the letters they produced are as follows:
B – seangarrison (Sean G Phillips)
L – Timi Bliss
A – Beverly Tipton Hammond
C – Kelly Brown
K – Peyton Scott Russell
L – Brittany Moore
I – Donna Ray
V – A. Drew Hammond
E – Christopheraaron Deanes
S – Melodee Strong
M – Christopher E. Harrison
A – Reggie LeFlore
T – DeSean Hollie
T – Broderick Poole
E – Lissa Karpeh
R – Kenneth Caldwell
To paint the mural, Plymouth Avenue was blocked off for the day until 5 p.m. when the artists stopped working. Less than an hour later, the streets re-opened to motor traffic.
Voice of Culture Drum + Dance performed, providing a backdrop of African drumming and dancing, while a slew of volunteers helped to organize and carry out the event.
Each of the artists we spoke with said they felt positively about being involved with the production of the mural. Artist seangarrison said he was “honored to be a part of it.”
“For me, since I was out there and about doing the whole uprising and just watching all that beautiful action, to see people out there was inspiring for me as an old head, I was like, okay, these young folks got it. And so it’s our job […] to keep young brothers and sisters spirited.” — seangarrison (Sean G Phillips), artist
Since the murder of George Floyd, there has been an unprecedented amount of resistance art in the Twin Cities.
This upcoming week, MAAHMG is planning to re-open after being closed for months from COVID-19. The space will feature media, artwork, and other remnants of the George Floyd uprising, including a Unicorn Riot exhibit featuring a video from the uprising.
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Unicorn Riot's George Floyd Coverage:
- George Floyd Uprising – Reporter Reflection [5 Episode Series] - Fall 2020
- Minneapolis Police Murder Handcuffed Man With Neck-Kneel - May 26, 2020
- Minneapolis Protests Police Murder of George Floyd: Day 2 - May 27, 2020
- Twin Cities Protest Death of George Floyd: Day 3 - May 28, 2020
- New Footage Reveals Moments Before George Floyd’s Death - May 30, 2020
- Minneapolis Protests Police Murder of George Floyd: Day 7 - June 1, 2020
- Owner Assaulted by Troopers While Protecting His Business - June 2, 2020
- Action at WCCO to End Media Bias Against Victims of Police Violence: Day 9 - June 3, 2020
- George Floyd Memorial Service in Minneapolis - June 4, 2020
- Rally and March to Defund MPD after George Floyd: Day 12 - June 6, 2020
- Nine Council Members Vow to Disband Minneapolis Police - June 10, 2020
- Denver Police Served Temporary Restraining Order Amid Nationwide Protest Repression - June 11, 2020
- George Floyd Uprising in Minneapolis–Saint Paul — The First Two Weeks - June 14, 2020
- “No Justice, No Street” – Community Makes Demands, Eviction of George Floyd Memorial Square Delayed - August 17, 2020
- Pretrial Begins: County Attorney Freeman Pulled from George Floyd Police Prosecutions - September 14, 2020
- Ex-Cop Charged in George Floyd Murder Out On $1M Bail - October 7, 2020
- Youth Lead March After Ex-Cop Charged in Floyd’s Murder Bailed Out - October 14, 2020