After a Grand Jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown, riots ensued that damaged many St. Louis businesses. But now local business owners have turned their battered facades into a stunning art project that reflects the community’s feeling of loss and hope.
Racial tensions following the trial of the white police officer that put six bullets into an unarmed 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown escalated into riots that flooded the streets of Ferguson. The demonstrations, riots and looting broke out in reaction to a Missouri grand jury’s decision on Nov. 24 not to indict officer Darren Wilson. Much of the damage from the demonstrations hit the South Grand business district, about 20 minutes south of Ferguson. On the night of the decision looters smashed windows of around 17 businesses on Grand Boulevard, a vibrant area of the city filled with shops, restaurants and boutiques.
After the rioting subsided, business owners started boarding up their shops, but soon realized that it could cause more trouble and transform the neighborhood into an unwelcoming ghost town. So several community improvement groups got together and organized a public call for artists to paint their facades and shop windows instead. Soon, the plywood boards were transformed into colorful artworks, which include a phoenix rising from the flames of a burning skyline; an interactive piece drawn with chalkboard; and a painting of a pair of black and white arms and hands clasped in a shape that evokes the Gateway Arch. The work has been so well received that according to Good Magazine, some of the artwork could become part of a Missouri History Yorker collection.
Via Good Magazine
Images via Paint for Peace StL