by: Michelle Madaras
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO – Businesses here in the Delmar Loop are now covered with colorful pictures and messages, but one done all in black-and-white stands out amongst them all.
A portrait of George Floyd now looks out on Delmar Boulevard which has long been known as a dividing line between two communities. Artists volunteered to paint the boarded-up business windows that line the street.
“I felt like this was the best way for me to contribute to what’s going on right now,” SAID Michelle Sauer, a painter.
Damarcus Brown, who works in Delmar, said, “These boards, nobody wanted to put them up. It makes us look like we’re closed but instead of making it something bad they turned it into something good by painting it and now it’s getting more attention than ever.
Each artist shared their own message call some calling for peace, others for unity, and growth.
“Learning about the Delmar divide, redlining, all the history of the housing issues and how it contributes to schools and taxes and everything like that and the bigger picture. It’s been very eye-opening for me in the years since Ferguson. Hopefully, this is just a little bit to help out,” Amy Kelly, a painter.
And it’s compelling some who work on the street to pick up a brush and take part.
“Honestly after all the stuff that has happened this year, I’m really proud how everyone in the community is coming together,” said Brown.
But some may wonder, if this display is just to benefit the businesses in the Loop
“I don’t think this time it’s about money. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about people and understanding how people feel. I think some corporations are doing that and I think some are backing off and saying hey we understand this is a sensitive time,” said Brown.
“It should connect people, not divide people. I think everybody if you have a heart and a soul, you can look at this kind of circumstance and get on the side of good,” said Ben Angelly, the artist of the George Floyd portrait.
So far artists have made it to 14 different businesses to paint murals. They plan to continue their work. They’re meeting again on Friday and they’ll be painting from nine until noon and meeting up at corner 17.