Black Lives Matter murals planned for streets of Kansas City; work starting Saturday

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Picture of street mural

A street sign of Black Lives Matter Plaza is seen near St. John’s Episcopal Church, as the protests against the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody continue.
Credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizers of a plan to paint Black Lives Matter murals on six Kansas City, Missouri, streets say the project may be the largest of its kind.

The murals are scheduled to be painted on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Several other cities have seen street murals honoring the Black Lives Matter movement in the months since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, but Kansas City organizers said they’re unaware of any matching the scope of what they have planned.

With over 1,000 community volunteers and 600 gallons of paint, six Black artists will bring to life their distinctly unique designs, ultimately covering public streets, totaling 2,000 feet in length.

“Cities can affect lasting change when they come together,” Damian Lair, who helped organize the project, said.

Lair, a managing director at a public affairs firm, first wanted to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street outside of his downtown apartment. He and his friend, Crissy Dastrup, began asking community organizations to work on the project with them, and the project grew.

The City Council voted 12-1 last month to support the project. A resolution said the city “recognizes the importance and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement,” and wants to “sanction the legitimacy of this powerful initiative aimed at advancing social justice and racial equity.”

The city is not paying for the murals, but will help control traffic and close streets during the painting. Donations will pay for supplies and artists’ time.

The size of the Kansas City project is “trendsetting,” Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League, said. “It is definitely history making. And it speaks to the desire of most Kansas Citians to bridge the racial divide.”

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