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City unveils ‘Black Lives Matter!' mural outside City Hall

Updated: Jun. 19, 2020 at 9:12 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The City of Cincinnati unveiled the ‘Black Lives Matter!’ mural Friday just two days after City Council unanimously approved its installation on Plum Street outside City Hall.

The privately funded mural was created by seventeen teams of local Black artists comprising around 70 artists in total, according to the city.

More | Council unanimously approves ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural outside City Hall

Former Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio Board Chair Alandes Powell got the idea for mural Saturday. She met with the artists the following day.

Powell helped dedicate the completed project Friday, just a few hours after the city raised a Juneteenth flag at City Hall for the first time in its history.

“When you change how you look at people, when you change how you educate people, you change the world,” Powell said. “So here we want to become that place that says, ‘We did something. We did something different.’”

Artist Brandon Hawkins designed the letter ‘B.'

“In each one of these letters, you can see what we want,” Hawkins said. “In mine in particular, was that I want to raise my family in peace.”

Local arts organization ArtWorks, which is behind most of the murals downtown, hired youth apprentices and recruited Black artists to create the mural.

“Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matters mural is distinctive and represents the extraordinary mobilization of leadership across the local Black artist community alongside local public, nonprofit and corporate leaders to build a collaborative to voice shared values and work for meaningful change,” ArtWorks CEO Colleen Houston said in a statement Friday. “This mural is more than paint—and we look forward to the continued conversations and change that will move our community forward.

“When I started to ask internally in City Hall,” Landsman told the crowd, “folks said, ‘Yeah we want to help, but there is no way they’re going to be able to pull this off by Thursday, certainly not by Friday.’” I said. ‘No, they will.‘” They said, “How do you know?” I said, ‘It’s being run by all black women.’”

The paint used on the mural is the same type used on the Purple People Bridge, according to the Urban League.

They expect it to last five years.

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