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Restoration project set to begin on Cincinnati’s ‘Black Lives Matter!’ mural

The $118,000 restoration will fix faded letters and vandalism on the year-old mural
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 1:33 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Artists will be back outside City Hall over the next week for a major restoration project on Cincinnati’s ‘Black Lives Matter!’ mural.

Beginning Friday evening, Plum Street between 8th and 9th streets will close through June 21 so artists can fix faded letters and vandalism that has occurred on the mural during its one year of existence.

“We didn’t know the paint would fade that quick, especially with the cars running over it,” Alandes Powell, former Urban League board chair and mural coordinator, said. “The restoration will fix the splashes. The city also needed to put down white lines for the traffic direction, so there is some painting we need to do around that as well.”

The major addition this year will be a clear overlay with hopes of protecting the mural for the future.

“We worked with the city and the department of transportation to do research with other murals,” Powell said. “There is not a perfect solution but we have worked to come up with the right paint and the right overlay. We are hoping that will make it so you won’t have to touch it up for another two years.”

The total price tag for the restorations is $118,000, according to Powell, and will come from city funds. Powell says about 70% of the cost will go toward the artists themselves. The mural was privately funded last year.

“I think [the city] felt like they should pay to restore it and put an overlay because the community stepped up and said they wanted it,” Powell said.

The project is being done under the non-profit Black Art Speaks. There will be 17 lead artists, one for each letter and the exclamation point. Powell says some of the letter designs will change completely.

Work will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. and will last through Tuesday evening. Powell says panels and discussions are planned while the artwork is being painted.

The protective overlay will be put on Wednesday and will dry before a re-dedication ceremony June 18th at 3 p.m.

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