Decatur’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ street mural to be a community project

Decatur commissioners, seated l-r Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers and Mayor Patti Garrett, standing l-r Lesa Mayer, Kelly Walsh and George Dusenbury. Courtesy City of Decatur

Later this month, the city of Decatur will get a “Black Lives Matter” street mural similar to those that have sprung up in Washington D.C., New York and other American cities.

And local officials plan for Decatur’s project to be a community undertaking.

The city commission approved the mural and up to $16,000 in associated costs Monday night. The plan calls for the words to be painted on N. McDonough Street between Trinity Place and Howard Avenue — just behind the downtown square and in front of Decatur High School — on the weekend of Aug. 22.

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Three artists have been hired, and each has submitted general concepts for the word they’re tasked with. But the idea will be for those artists — Sharanda Wilburn, George F. Baker III and Petie Parker — to essentially outline the mural and then help interested community members fill in the gaps.

“A paint-by-numbers type situation,” said city Commissioner Lesa Meyer, who led the planning effort.

Artist concepts for the "Black Lives Matter" street mural planned for N. McDonough Street in Decatur. VIA CITY DOCUMENTS

Details are still being worked out, but city officials said resident participation would be divided into shifts to allow for appropriate social distancing and other coronavirus-related precautions.

It was unclear how long the mural would stay on the street, but City Manager Andrea Arnold estimated that it would last several months.

“I haven’t been this excited about a project in a really long time,” Arnold said.

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