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New Black Lives Matter mural covers street in Patterson Park

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 18:11:07-04

BALTIMORE — Sunday night, a group of neighbors painted "Black Lives Matter" along S. Linwood Ave. in Patterson Park.

The mural, viewed from above, has large block letters and is painted in red and yellow.

Organizers asked to stay anonymous, but a participant told WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii that a group of around 30 people spent several hours Sunday evening tracing the letters then filling them in with paint.

Participants had to rely on street lamps, cellphone lights, and car headlamps to finish the project. It took several hours and began around 8 p.m.

On Monday, park visitors stopped to take photos of the mural.

"I saw a post that said the mural had gone up and I immediately came running out of my house to see it with my own eyes. It’s just incredible. It makes me feel loved," said Delegate Robbyn Lewis (D-Baltimore City).

Delegate Lewis had heard about plans for the mural but wasn't aware of any specific details.

"I am deeply moved and touched but I’m not surprised that a mural like this would come out of this community," Lewis said.

When asked how she would respond to residents who may object to painting street art without the proper permissions or approval, Lewis said:
"The rules and restrictions that bound us before, so many of them were designed to suppress this kind of speech. I think due to the pandemic and the shutdown, people have been open to recalibrating rules and processes to reduce obstacles to expression, joining together for change. This is a perfect example, actually, of this moment and why this transformation is so needed. The rules and restrictions that would’ve forbid this kind of action in the past, they are frankly, in opposition to the message of this mural that Black lives matter."

The stretch of S. Linwood Avenue between Eastern Avenue and E. Baltimore St. is part of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and Department of Recreation & Parks Slow Street Pilot Program. The road has been blocked off for local traffic only to provide safe opportunities for people to walk, run, and bike while practicing social distancing.

"By painting the mural here, it’s further demonstration that the street belongs to people. It’s a further affirmation that Black Lives Matter and that the well-being and access to opportunity and to freedom and liberty of everyone who lives here matters to us," said Lewis.

The Department of Transportation is encouraging anyone else interested in creating street art to first apply for a permit. A spokesperson with the agency sent the statement below:

It is incredible to see that the people in Baltimore City are joining millions across the nation to send a powerful and strong message to the rest of the world that Black Lives Matter (BLM). As we were not aware of the street art request, we want to encourage any other BLM organizers or any other organizers requesting street art to apply for our Art in the ROW Program to get the proper permits. The safety of those working on our City's Right-of-Way is paramount, and we encourage all organizers to follow the rules. Organizers wishing to apply for a permit can apply online under our Community Based Programs Application.