Muralist Emily Lux and I knew we needed a simple lay-out and a good phrase to organize our first "socially distanced" project. Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd memorials were sweeping the country, could we make art that was a call to action? That had some hope along with the anger and frustration and despair? Then I read Claudia Rankine's poem "Weather," commissioned by the New York Times to capture the moment. It is a powerful read, and I especially liked the final lines:
contracts keep us social compel us now
to disorder the disorder. Peace. We’re out
to repair the future. There’s an umbrella
by the door, not for yesterday but for the weather
that’s here. I say weather but I mean
a form of governing that deals out death
and names it living. I say weather but I mean
a November that won’t be held off. This time
nothing, no one forgotten. We are here for the storm
that’s storming because what’s taken matters.
"Repair the Future" seemed to sum up everything we wanted to say, and the letters are spread out over protest-style signs. Each one is painted by a different kid/young adult based on an issue that matters to them. You'll see references to the environment, factory farming, black lives matter, pride, and more. Supported by volunteers and local businesses in Beaverton, and painted on July 4th-5th, this mural illustrates what collective action (and public art!) are capable of. In this sanctioned stillness, raising your voice -- or your pen or paintbrush -- seems the most important thing one can do, and the Zoomers are taking that in. They gave me hope that they can meet this mess we are leaving. See more of the process here.