In early July, city crews rolled through Capitol Hill Organized Protest, kicking out demonstrators, unhoused people, and journalists. Slowly and methodically, they also began taking down impromptu sculptures and signs, power-washing spray paint from the streets, and painting over murals commemorating the lives of Black people who were killed by police.
The Urban Art Mapping George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art database is looking to change all of that. The project compiles photos and documentation of tags, graffiti, murals, stickers, and other installations on walls, pavements, and signs by artists and writers responding to racial injustice and police brutality against Black and Indigenous people. These works can be commissioned or uncommissoned, but are all ephemeral, responding directly to the moment in which they were made.
The project was started by a group of researchers at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, inspired by the constantly changing memorial to George Floyd outside the Cup Foods where he was murdered in May. On their website they acknowledge street art’s “potential to transform urban space and foster a sustained political dialogue, reaching a wide audience and making change possible.” And that transformation and dialogue should not be lost to history because of power-washing tools.
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Direct to George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art Database