GSO Mural Project makes first step toward new mural

by Allison Stalberg

On Aug. 4th, a diverse group came together to discuss the beginnings of a new mural.

The event was hosted by Greensboro’s oldest mural based organization, the Greensboro Mural Project. The organization plans to concentrate their next mural design on Greensboro’s involvement with the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Movement.

This new mural will be one out of many murals completed by the Greensboro Mural Project. Five years have passed since they unveiled their first mural at the Children’s Museum and this year they completed three murals, with two in local elementary schools.

“This city is rich with history, and it is important to document that in public space and celebrate it,” said co-founder of the Greensboro Mural Project, Alyzza May.

What sets the organization apart from other mural projects is that they make the project as accessible to others as possible.

“We believe that together we are more powerful and know more collectively,” said May. “We want many people in this city to be part of the creation process of this mural.”

“You don’t need to be a self-proclaimed artist to participate, paint or design,” said core member John Hunter. “We make sure that the work is in the hands of the people and we try to integrate the people into the project as much as possible by receiving questions that we then develop into designs for murals that we do.”

The first mural meeting came together at the Central Carolina Worker Justice Center. Organizers and artists alike shared thoughts on what concepts the new mural can connect to such as resistance, freedom, the Civil Rights Movement, the Underground Railroad, momentum, Greensboro and communication.

Attendees drew their own map of Greensboro and shared ideas as to what makes the Greensboro community important. They looked for threads that connected the Civil Rights Movement and the Underground Railroad.

“We’re all here today because our next mural is going to be rooted here in Greensboro and have the legacy and history of Greensboro, especially the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Movement,” said May. “Both things that have such a rich, palpable presence in the everyday lives that we live here. Not only that, but it influences the work we do today in contemporary social justice movements so we’re here to tie those altogether and to harvest the knowledge that we all have collectively as residents of Greensboro or people who are connected to Greensboro somehow.”

Attendee’s such as Lavinia Jackson brought their children.

“Art is an integral part of learning and my mother was an art teacher, I can’t get away from the legacy of what she left for my children before she transitioned on,” said Jackson.

“This is a way of continuing on and letting my daughters know that art is a part of who they are and who they will become. So I want them to be grounded in Greensboro and be a real part of the community. By doing this project, they get to put their hands on something bigger than they are.” !

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