RACINE – The organizer of the Black Humanity Now! Street Art Mural Project says he is encouraged by strong early support and hopes the project can become a reality within a few weeks.

Scott Terry, a Racine artist, educator, and operator of Mahogany Gallery, received unanimous approval for the project from the Racine Common Council’s Public Works and Services Committee on June 23. The proposal is expected to go before the full Common Council at its July 21 meeting.

The proposed street mural would be painted on Wisconsin Avenue, between 7th and 8th streets, in front of the Racine County Courthouse and the Racine County Law Enforcement Center (that houses the Racine County Jail). The artwork would incorporate the words “Black Humanity Now!” and span an area approximately 30 feet high and 200 feet long. The work would be painted by community volunteers and a group of professional artists. Funding for the project’s creation and maintenance would come entirely from donations.

Before the Public Works Committee meeting, the mural proposal received support from a petition that received more than 2,000 signatures as well as endorsements from the Racine Coalition for Peace & Justice, Racine Interfaith Coalition, and the Racine Arts Council. It also received initial support from four Racine Common Council members, two Racine County Board members, local businesses, and private citizens.
The Racine mural is described as “a grassroots effort to bring attention to the pandemic of police brutality against Black people and to honor the lives lost as a result of hundreds of years of trauma that is the lived Black experience in America.”

Terry’s proposal came about as a result of similar mural projects that have appeared on city streets throughout the country. Over the past month, anti-racism messages have been created on streets in many U.S. cities, including Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Raleigh, Austin, Seattle, and Oakland.

This week, Terry said that he and a team of artists are finalizing the design and working out the logistics of painting and maintaining the mural. The plans call for it to be completed over a three-day weekend period.

“We have a lot of details to work out, including being able to accommodate all of the people who want to come out and be a part of history,” he said. The work plan will include provisions to keep volunteers protected from the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Racine’s Black Humanity Now! mural will be a permanent landmark for the Racine community.
“What I envision is we’ll be back every year to touch up and maintain it,” he said.

The street mural is the first phase of Terry’s vision for a long-term initiative to unite the community to stand up, advocate, and support Black lives.

Future phases are:

  • Construction of a sculpture garden to acknowledge the victims of police violence throughout American history. A place for reflection and honoring humanity.
  • Creation of markers, murals, literature, and other forms of education to promote and acknowledge the history and contributions Black people have made in the Racine community.

Terry said the mural project’s estimated price tag is also still being developed. He added that the project cost and final design would be presented to the Common Council at its July meeting.

To learn more, visit https://www.mahoganygallery.com/donate-1

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.