June 12, 2020
In a recent article for The Conversation, How DC Mayor Bowser used graffiti to protect public space, Rebekah Modrak, artist, scholar, and professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design writes about Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s recent creative expression of solidarity with Black Lives Matters protesters.
As Modrak’s article recounts, “when President Donald Trump sent heavily armed federal law enforcement officers and unidentified officers in riot gear into Washington, D.C. during the height of protests recently, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser responded by painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” directly on the street leading to the White House.”
While many spoke of it as a daring political act, for artists like me, it was also an act of urban intervention, an artistic act intended to transform an existing structure or institution, that reclaimed public space back for the public.
Volunteers helped city workers paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the street near the White House. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images.