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.
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.
Many are along Cottage Grove Avenue, visible to passing drivers and pedestrians.
They’re part of an exhibition called “Resilient Voices” that opened last summer and continues until this fall, possibly longer.
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.
“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.
“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.”
The murals will remain on display at the museum beyond this fall, Irmer says, if funding can be found to weatherize them.
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.”
Chicago’s murals & mosaics
Part of a series on public art. More murals added every week.