Cincinnati is Officially Getting a Black Lives Matter Street Mural

City council voted unanimously to approve the mural, which will be painted on Plum Street in front of City Hall and will become "the official speech" of Cincinnati

Jun 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm
click to enlarge Cincinnati is Officially Getting a Black Lives Matter Street Mural
Photo: Urban League of Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati is getting its own Black Lives Matter street mural, similar to those seen in cities including Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn. The mural will be located outside of City Hall on Plum Street between Eighth and Ninth streets downtown. 

The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, Black Art Speaks, ArtsWave and ArtWorks partnered to make the Black Lives Matter mural happen; Alandes Powell, board member of Urban League, initiated the project. 

The mural will be entirely privately funded. So far, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $99,300 toward its $150,000 goal, which will cover fees for artists and supplies. (The city, however, will be paying for employees to help close the street while the mural is painted.)

Each letter has been designed by a different Black artist and team of assistants.

The Urban League has listed which artists are tackling which letters:

The goal is to begin work by 7 p.m. tonight for a 2 p.m. unveiling and press conference on Friday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. At 10 a.m. on Friday, the city will also be hosting its first Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at City Hall.

The ordinance to install the mural, which passed unanimously through Cincinnati City Council, also declares this speech the official speech and message of the City of Cincinnati.

"It will officially be the speech of this city — that Black lives matter — which I think is important and powerful," said council member Greg Landsman during today's council meeting. "When this movement began, years and years ago, a lot of folks were not comfortable with that speech and I think things have changed pretty significantly in terms of people saying and understanding why people say that Black lives matter. And for the city to say that this is our speech is an important step. It's also a reminder for us every day, perhaps more importantly — as it will be permanent — that we have an enormous amount of work to do to eliminate those disparities across the board."  

Council member Jeff Pastor noted that while this mural is great demonstration and a first step, he said, "We have an issue in the City of Cincinnati that a mural is not going to be able to solve." 

The mural had to be approved by the city and the Department of Transportation. It will be permanent, as Landsman noted, however, the city says it doesn't have funds for ongoing maintenance.