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Street Art Proves the Value of Public Space

Murals do more than bring joy to onlookers. Public art can also be a source of healing, a point of reflection, and a cause for conversation.
November 23, 2020, 10am PST | Lee Flannery | @leecflannery
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Brooklyn, New York City

What do an office building in Downtown Spokane and the streets of Kansas City, Missouri have in common? Both are the homes of murals addressing themes of social justice. Liza Weisstuch writes that the May police killing of George Floyd spurred a movement that spurred a transformation of cities through an avalanche of street art.

"Among the most influential works from these protests: The 50-foot, visible-from-space yellow letters spelling “Black Lives Matter” that Washington D.C., painted on the asphalt near Lafayette Square, just hours after the Trump administration used tear gas to clear protesters in June," writes Weisstuch.

Weisstuch describes the legacy of street art and "of artists harnessing the collaborative power of public art and image-making to mobilize communities." According to Weisstuch, street art is a documentation of historical moments and emphasizes the value of public space.

The Black Lives Matter movement has even used public art to reclaim space and address shared trauma stemming from hundreds of years of systemic racism and overt oppression in the United States. 

Weisstuch's article depicts the ways in which street art can promote healing and stand as a social centerpiece, and spark important conversations.

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Published on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 in Bloomberg CityLab
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