FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Local artists are using the vandalized storefronts to promote positivity and support the Black Lives Matter movement.
After the first Fort Wayne protest against the death of George Floyd while in police custody, several downtown businesses were damaged. Others boarded their windows up as a precaution as protests continued.
“It doesn’t look super inviting when all the windows are boarded up,” said Jeremy Stroup. “It looks pretty spooky, to tell you the truth.”
Adam Garland felt the same.
“I was walking around downtown last Saturday after the vandalism happened,” said Garland. “Looking around, this is a bunch of canvas we can paint to create messages of justice and hope.”
Garland reached out to Art This Way to turn his idea into action. With their help, a call went out asking for artists to come downtown and cover the plywood with their messages of hope and shift the focus from the negatives of the vandalism to the positivity of the message.
“It’s a way for the art community to create something beautiful out of something that’s been very painful,” said Garland.
“I think this will really give people a reason to come see what people have to say,” said Stroup, who volunteered time to paint one of the coverings.
It also gives the artists a platform to vocalize their own thoughts and feelings about the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Inside of this painting I have a little girl blowing bubbles to the city of Fort Wayne,” said painter Sederick Lorick. “The bubbles actually have butterflies coming out of them which show the new beginning for Fort Wayne and the United States. Hopefully, all of the violence and all of the madness can go away.”
Lorick hopes that the murals will send a clear message to the local government.
“I think what we’re doing now, putting the paintings around the city, I think that’s going to bring more to the peaceful protests and I believe it’s going to cause the government to actually see what’s going on so that way they can fix the problem,” said Lorick.
Garland hopes that the murals will inspire others to do more.
“I hope it creates conversation about how individuals that come and enjoy the art can help support causes for justice,” said Garland.
While most of the artists were from the area, the Downtown Improvement Districts said that people from other states have made a trip to Fort Wayne so that they can take part.
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