A mural created by South Side artists Squeak Starzula and Mario Mena on boards at a Logan Square pet shop in 2020. The painting conveyed “diversity, creativity, inclusiveness,” Mena says, adding, “We went out there to try to bring some temporary relief for people, just healing.”

A mural created by South Side artists Squeak Starzula and Mario Mena on boards at a Logan Square pet shop in 2020. The painting conveyed “diversity, creativity, inclusiveness,” Mena says, adding, “We went out there to try to bring some temporary relief for people, just healing.”

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Dozens of murals created on boarded-up storefronts after George Floyd’s killing now displayed on DuSable Museum grounds

The plywood went up to protect businesses but soon became a canvas for street artists to capture the pain of the moment, encourage unity and express hope.

SHARE Dozens of murals created on boarded-up storefronts after George Floyd’s killing now displayed on DuSable Museum grounds
SHARE Dozens of murals created on boarded-up storefronts after George Floyd’s killing now displayed on DuSable Museum grounds
After George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in 2020 by a white Minneapolis police officer, protests erupted in Chicago and other cities, and many business owners scrambled to install wooden boards over storefront windows to protect against vandalism.

Those boards quickly turned into canvases for street artists, who used them to create murals expressing support for a new civil rights movement, condemning racism and encouraging peace and unity.

Those boards eventually were removed, but they weren’t discarded. Dozens of them are now displayed on the grounds of the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, 740 E. 56th Pl.

The mural at far left was done by a South Side artist who goes by Don Mega. He says the artwork was a “Sesame Street idea . . . a nice way to represent the idea of coming together.” At the time he painted the boards, they were covering windows at a Loop hotel.

The mural at far left was done by a South Side artist who goes by Don Mega. He says the artwork was a “Sesame Street idea . . . a nice way to represent the idea of coming together.” At the time he painted the boards, they were covering windows at a Loop hotel.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Many are along Cottage Grove Avenue, visible to passing drivers and pedestrians.

A cluster of murals promoting love and peace, including one at the top left by artist Joshua “SNAGZ” Valdovinos and one at the top right by the artist who goes by Voodoo Masochist and that reads, “We Got Dis!”

A cluster of murals promoting love and peace, including one at the top left by artist Joshua “SNAGZ” Valdovinos and one at the top right by the artist who goes by Voodoo Masochist and that reads, “We Got Dis!”

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

They’re part of an exhibition called “Resilient Voices” that opened last summer and continues until this fall, possibly longer.

Among the murals on the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center grounds is one showing Spider-Man characters painted by the Woodlawn artist who goes by “Reco the Great.” He says the imagery was about “unmasking the uncomfortable conversations” about race in America.

Among the murals on the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center grounds is one showing Spider-Man characters painted by the Woodlawn artist who goes by “Reco the Great.” He says the imagery was about “unmasking the uncomfortable conversations” about race in America.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The artwork touches on the trauma felt in the Black community — from actions by the police, by economics, by the pandemic or other forces — and also on coming together, having hope.

A group that calls itself Paint the City was behind many of the murals.

“We had a big artist network we worked with,” says Missy Perkins, co-founder of the group, which paired artists with businesses.

A stretch of murals at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center that inludes a painting, at the far left, of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man killed by white men while jogging in Georgia in 2020. The mural, by the artist who goes by Nick Apple, originally was painted on the front of a Logan Square restaurant.

A stretch of murals at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center that inludes a painting, at the far left, of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man killed by white men while jogging in Georgia in 2020. The mural, by the artist who goes by Nick Apple, originally was painted on the front of a Logan Square restaurant.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

“When we did those boards, we did them everywhere,” Perkins says. “It wasn’t just in one specific area.”

Her group collected the plywood murals when they were removed from storefronts and worked with DuSable Museum officials and other groups to once again display them.

Other plywood murals at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center that are part of the “Resilient Voices” exhibition.

Other plywood murals at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center that are part of the “Resilient Voices” exhibition.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

“We were one of the few organizations that managed to save most of the boards that we did, so it was a big undertaking,” Perkins says.

Says Perri Irmer, DuSable’s president and chief executive officer: “It’s very beautiful art but also very meaningful art. It’s communicating emotions and feelings and also actions.”

These murals also are on display at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. The one in the middle is by Barrett Keithley, co-founder of the arts initiative Paint the City that was influential in creating and preserving street murals amid protests following George Floyd’s 2020 killing by a white Minneapolis police officer.

These murals also are on display at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. The one in the middle is by Barrett Keithley, co-founder of the arts initiative Paint the City that was influential in creating and preserving street murals amid protests following George Floyd’s 2020 killing by a white Minneapolis police officer.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

The murals will remain on display at the museum beyond this fall, Irmer says, if funding can be found to weatherize them.

These works now at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center are part of the “Resilient Voices” exhibit of street art.

These works now at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center are part of the “Resilient Voices” exhibit of street art.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Dorian Sylvain, one of the project’s curators, says: “We feel it’s important not only to preserve these creative objects but to display them for the community to take pride in, as a legacy of Chicago history and movement-building that continues into the future.”

These murals are part of the display at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center but weren’t on storefronts like most of the others. They were designed by inmates as part of an initiative called the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

These murals are part of the display at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center but weren’t on storefronts like most of the others. They were designed by inmates as part of an initiative called the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Another mural designed by inmates through the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

Another mural designed by inmates through the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

Robert Herguth / Sun-Times

Murals

Chicago’s murals & mosaics

Part of a series on public art. More murals added every week.

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago-area murals

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