Samantha HoangLong reports:
Almost one year after the murder of George Floyd, art commemorating his life – and the movement that followed – was put on display at Phelps Park in Minneapolis. The art was created on plywood that was being used to board up storefronts in the days following his death.
Lessa Kelly is one of the people leading the effort to collect and preserve the plywood protest art. She’s the founder and executive director of Memorialize the Movement.
“What happened in Minneapolis last year was a historic event, and like all historic events, we want to record that. We want to keep those artifacts and preserve them so that we can look back on it and learn from it and that’s what I want to see here today. I want us to go back to the summer of 2020 when the boards were on storefronts and reflect on that and think about how we can be better as a community, how we can be better as a city and as a country so we don’t see this continuing to happen.”
Kelly began collecting and preserving the boards from businesses and artists last summer. She now has more than 800 pieces.
“I think these boards really spoke to me because they put words and images to emotions that I couldn’t explain at the time,” Kelly said.
Tony Pendelton used to live in the neighborhood, and passed by 38th and Chicago frequently. He came to the art display with his wife. He says the art is inspiring, and that it’s been cathartic to see how people are remembering George Floyd.
“History is always something that is incredible. It’s ongoing, it occurs. We’ll never forget George Floyd. We’ll never forget what happened to him and the inhumanity that was shown him. And I think this is what affects me, that says okay, he’s not a footnote in history. Change has happened because of him,” Pendelton said.
Events commemorating George Floyd’s death continue through Tuesday.
Photo Credit: Chioma Uwagwu
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