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We Stand Together: Danicia Monet, Arts Council of Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Art often depicts reality: Artist around Indianapolis have been doing that with the Murals for Racial Justice initiative.

Once the murals come down, the Art Council of Indianapolis is making sure the pieces of art are archived and preserved as a part of history. News 8’s Katiera Winfrey has Wednesday’s We Stand Together report.

An eruption of protest and riots in Indianapolis brought with it and eruption of color. Paintings dotted the boarded-up windows in downtown Indianapolis. While many have been replaced, some spots remain quite colorful. Some are part of the Art Council of Indianapolis’ initiative. Danicia Monet is the program director. She said the artist who have made this possible had a story to tell. It’s silent but the messages are loud.

MONET: The murals for racial justice initiative began in June. As a response to the police brutality that was happening across the country across the world. Things that were happening here in our own city. The killing of Dresjon Reed. Demonstrations that were taking place downtown, the pandemic. It was a lot of tension happening. Buildings were being boarded up, demonstrations were still happening. Murals started going up on those buildings. Once the building started re-opening the murals started coming down, the conversation transition into OK what can we do with these works of art. Because that’s exactly what they are. They weren’t just responses to a critical time. But they are masterpieces. We had lots of conversations with the partners about where they can go what’s their purpose, what’s their use, how can we salvage them, how can we archive them. How can we memorialize them? And also how can we keep this conversation going? How can we make sure that our city, our community understands the relevance of what’s happening and it’s not just about putting up pictures? It’s not just about a response in a creative way. But it’s doing a deep dive into systemic change. so it has transitioned and transformed since that time to investigate and invest in arts capacity building, artist networking opportunities, community conversations. All of these things that start to talk about equity and liberation. Things that we need for everyone in this community and everyone in communities across the United States in the world where we have makes people living. I’m different from you you’re different from me and we should all be able to exist in these spaces together without fear of threats against our lives.

WINFREY: And I know they say the arts has a way of bringing people together no matter what background you come from you can’t appreciate a piece of music you could appreciate a piece of art. Is that what you find when people get out of being able to see these murals or is that the thought process many artists take when they create them. He’s somebody can take something from this?

MONET: You know I can’t speak for the artist, I won’t speak for the artist because each one of them created such beautiful work and they all had different intentions for what they wanted to share, what message they wanted to put out there. And I think a lot of what happened was that they wanted to be heard. I do agree yes a lot of people can take any message that they want from any piece of work. And when you look at all 24 of these murals, all 24 of these creations each one of them you can glean something out of them for your personal story.

WINFREY: Could you speak on just the importance of us all having those conversations about equity, about equality, about justice. Just why the time has been now and so it’s our job to kind of keep it going. If that’s your mindset.

MONET: Yeah the time has always been now definitely. The importance of it is I deserve to live. All of these artists deserve to live. Anyone walking down the street just because I’m black, you might be black, you might be femme, you might be trans. You deserve to live. that’s the importance of this work.

WINFREY: If you could wrap it up, the importance of this documenting this time as a way to further encourage the fight, to further keep it alive. How important is it that we take this time and take advantage of it?

MONET: We can’t forget what happened. When we forget it happens again. So that’s the importance of memorializing this moment Indianapolis is not. Indianapolis is going through the same thing every other city is going through. Growing pains, transitions, racism, bias, in equity, injustice. All of these things take place here as well. So we can’t forget what happened this summer. We can’t forget what happened yesterday. Somebody somewhere in this city was still inflicted with a moment of an equity and injustice because we haven’t yet learned the lesson. So until we learn the lesson the conversations have to keep happening.

Replicas of the murals are still being made and will eventually go on exhibit at the Central Library. Banners of the murals will also be available for the community to borrow.