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3 artists chosen to lead in painting of BLM mural
Sunday, 19 July 2020 19:22

From Staff Reports

Three artists recently were chosen to lead the design of the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Asheville.

The three — Jenny Pickens, Joseph Pearson and Marie Cochran — are all local artists. The temporary art installation will be painted around Pack Square.

Fundraising is underway for costs to create the art installation — and as of mid-month $5,000 reportedly has been raised.

Councilwoman Sheneika Smith said on July 11 that the project could begin within two weeks. (Painting actually began on the night of July 18 and is expected to be completed by 8 p.m. July 19. It is a permitted event and Pack Square is shut off to traffic.)

Smith, along with other community groups and leaders, said that they hope the project promotes racial healing.

“The artists who will put their hands to this street mural represent many untold stories,” Smith said in a news release. 

“It is my hope that all eyes that connect with this piece will experience and appreciate the bloody truths released from our collective memory onto a hard canvas. Yet, this is more than a painting or bold expression. It’s an altar that observes the most sacred social movement of my lifetime.”

The lead artists will focus on the mural design. Supporting artists will be selected to help craft a unique design for each of the letters.

“This is a community effort, and though the city has granted a permit for the temporary installation, this is not a city project -- 100 percent of the funding for the project comes from individual donations and in-kind business support,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported recently.

Meanwhile, the Asheville Area Arts Council noted in a news release, “Many thanks go to Councilwoman Sheneika Smith for providing the leadership to bring community members, artists, and Asheville City Council together to consider this proposed public art installation. 

“The Arts Council is proud to serve as the coordinating body and fiscal agent for this initiative, which we and our partners agree can — in Sheneika’s words —  ‘galvanize solidarity and celebrate our collective movement towards addressing systemic issues locally.’”



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