Organizers: Black Lives Matter mural in Indy to ‘amplify message of the moment’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Preparations are underway for a Black Lives Matter mural to be painted on Indiana Avenue. The paint will be going on beginning Saturday morning.

The black asphalt of the street is about to become the canvas for a colorful message: #Black Lives Matter.

The permanent mural is intended along one of Indianapolis’s streets most associated with Black culture, between the Madam C. J. Walker Building and the Indianapolis Urban League.

While the mural comes weeks after many other cities, Mali Jeffers and other organizers said that isn’t a bad thing.

“It’s absolutely more than paint. We are doing this to amplify the message of the moment, the message of the movement, so this instills and this provides joy and pride,” she said.

Jeffers is one of four organizers putting this together.

They got approval from the city earlier this month, then selected 18 Black artists, one for each letter or symbol, including a fist at the end.

Eighteen people, 18 voices, given a blank canvas 30 feet by 14 feet.

Until it’s done, no one knows what it will look like.

“They’re using their voice and their letter to to amplify their message so they have creative freedom with the letter and we’re excited just as everyone else is to see their designs,” Jeffers said.

Ten men, seven women and one artist who identifies as gender-fluid were commissioned from close to 75 people who expressed interest in painting.

Jeffers, a mother of two girls in middle school, said she hopes kids find hope and inspiration in what’s going on.

While Indianapolis comes weeks after other cities, she said she appreciates the timing of this one more than if it would have been first.

“We could lose this moment soon so doing it now continues it. It doesn’t let the conversation die down.”

Having such a bold mural painted with city approval on Indiana Avenue is something Jeffers believed unthinkable not just 10 or 20 years ago, but even six months ago, is now just hours away.

“Even for that reason alone, it’s a moment we should all cherish,” she said.

The painting of the mural was intended to be a big Block Party open to the public, but with the pandemic it has been moved to a virtual one with entertainment streamed on the Indy 10 Black Lives Matter Facebook page.

As for the timing, weather permitting, the plan is to stencil the outline Friday and then begin painting Saturday.