Painting for Peace in Ferguson

When the grand jury announced that it would not indict Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, anger spilled over into the streets in Ferguson and nearby St. Louis. Windows were smashed, fires started. The owner of a St. Louis café watched from her home across the street as the nine windows of her restaurant shattered to the ground.

Reaching Out

Later that night she began the process of boarding up the spaces where the glass had been. The ugliness was jarring. So she asked some friends to help her splash on a little colored paint to relieve the despair.

Word spread. By morning, artists began to assemble. Within a few days, hundreds of artists came together to revitalize the look of the storefronts. Suppliers from around the country got in on the act, donating paint and other materials. Hundreds of paintings now grace the area with colorful vitality and messages of hope.

Finding Common Ground

This coming together to change destruction into something positive has had a healing effect on both the artists and the business owners. One resident noted, “It was a great relief for them to feel that they were part of building us back up. I felt the opposite — that they were helping us heal.”

It doesn’t end there. This year, planning is underway for a Ferguson Mural Project. The website characterizes the project this way: it “will integrate personal stories to create empathy, make meaning and effect real change by giving the community an opportunity to heal and beautify Ferguson’s downtown.”

The project will be documented from beginning to end – a tool for spreading the movement across the country.

Interested in getting involved? Learn more at http://www.fergusonmuralproject.com

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