As of November 2016, the Greensboro Mural Project has completed murals at the following locations: one at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, one at the Interactive Resource Center, one on the corner of Friendly Ave. and Mendenhall Ave, one on Spring Garden St. on the wall of Recycles bike shop, one at Backpack Beginning’s, one at New Garden Friends Meeting, one at Irving Park Elementary, one at Gillespie Elementary, two installations at DooDad Farm for WhoDat Festival, one at the People’s Market in Glenwood for Cakalak Thunder’s 10 year anniversary, and a mobile mural at City Market.
The Greensboro Mural Project was cofounded by Alyzza May and Katrina Siladi in 2011 when the pair were working in the Edible Schoolyard at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. There the two discovered their mutual passion for murals and creating large art in the community. The friends had been following the Beehive Collective in Maine, an artist collective that creates massive, multimedia, educational campaigns to confront the Western Hemisphere’s greatest political challenges. They were also interested in the work of Judy Baca, a Chicana muralist and professor who organized the Great Wall of LA. The duo knew a similar project, engaging the community in the reclamation of public space, could happen in Greensboro.
Within three months Alyzza and Kat had organized the project’s first mural through the Greensboro Children’s Museum where the Edible Schoolyard resides. In order to develop the mural’s design, they surveyed almost 300 people, asking the question, “What would make Greensboro a healthier city?” The responses, many of them given by children at the museum, were synthesized into a design by lead muralist Kathleen Kennedy, who was already responsible for murals at Guilford College and Wesley Long Hospital.
The painting was started in July of 2011 and finished within a month. The team sees the mural as a map of Greensboro’s goals and hopes as assessed by the community in 2011, a benchmark to look back on as we move forward.
Alyzza and Kat were initially unsure if they wanted to pursue the idea beyond the first mural, but community response prompted them to keep going. The next year Kathy Hinshaw of Casa Azul invited the project to be involved with Casa Azul’s “Dia De Los Niños” April event, where children painted joyously.
Later Liz Seymour, executive director at the Interactive Resource Center, approached the now-expanded mural project team about painting another large-scale mural. Starting in December 2012 the team began the process of making the second mural, asking people, many of whom had received services from the IRC, the question, “What makes home?” After collecting 100 responses, on March 16, 2013 the painting began with artist Justin Poe‘s design.
In the summer of 2014 the Greensboro Mural Project began work on another mural, dealing with the topic of public transportation in the Gate City. Project member Tristan Munchel rode the 17 daily GTA routes, asking people four questions: “Have you ridden the bus in Greensboro? How could the bus system be improved? How would your life be impacted if there were no GTA system? If the bus could take you anywhere, where would you choose?” The responses collected by Tristan and by Bonner Scholars at Guilford College were made into a design by local painter Jeff Beck.
In the Spring of 2015 the mural team completed its fourth public wall on Spring Garden St., in the College Hill Neighborhood. The members engaged pedestrians in front of the wall about the wall and issues that mattered to them, and cooperative member Alejo Salcedo came up with a design for the wall honoring it’s location while also the issue of workers rights and cooperation that came up frequently by those passing by.
Over the years we have participated in different community events, conversations, and celebrations, lead workshops, spoken to classes, sponsored events, and done commissioned walls at businesses and non-profits locally.
The Greensboro Mural Project looks forward to making Greensboro a more colorful city by bringing together a cross section of its community members.
To get involved, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org!