Indy Mural Project connects business owners with black artists to unite downtown area

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Artwork spreading the message of Black Lives Matter can already be found around downtown Indianapolis, but a new mural project led by community leaders aims to support local black artists by paying them for their work.

The project started as an idea by St’ArtUp 317, PATTERN and the Arts Council of Indianapolis to unite downtown by turning the plywood, which now covers many business windows, into something beautiful.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis says they have enough funds to pay for 10-15 murals. Artists had to submit an application to the project before being connected with a business or property that was damaged during last weekend’s riots.

“It’s unfortunate that we are here right now. But maybe it’s a good thing. It’s an opportunity to turn a bad situation into a good one,” said Indianapolis-based artist Matthew Cooper.

For the mural project, Cooper has been connected to the old City Hall building where he says he will be out for the next week working on his painting.

“I want it to be something that kids, adult and senior citizens can all relate to, because we all want the same thing,” Cooper added.

It’s a sentiment artist Shade Bell shares. Bell started her mural in front of the Homespun store on Mass Ave. Sunday morning.

“I was just sitting with my family over the weekend and I was inspired by the black joy. This represents that joy,” said Bell speaking on her piece.

Both Bell and Cooper say art unites people and is a way of protesting and speaking up for racial justice.

While the murals will be up temporarily, leaders are asking businesses to preserve them so they can be shown again around the city at a later date.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis says they have enough artists on standby, but they are looking for more businesses to connect them with. Local businesses interested in the project, can click here.

If you’re interested in donating to the effort, email indyarts@indyarts.org.