In just a few weeks, members of the Manhattan community organized the design, fundraising and painting of the mural now decorating the new alleyway between Poyntz Avenue and Houston Street.
Following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the idea for the project was sparked by a conversation over a bonfire.
Taylor Carr, local graphic designer for Acme Local in Manhattan said. While she had never taken on anything close to a mural before, was able to use her graphic design skills to create the colorful piece.
When it came to fundraising, Jessica Kerr, Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice’s community organizing and education chair, was the driving force behind the project. While the project was sponsored by MAPJ and Incite MHK, it was in large part funded by small donors.
The project was the perfect convergence of somebody that has a ton of experience with community organizing and fundraising and local artists, Carr said. While Carr designed the mural and took care of the finer details, she also enlisted the help of community members young and old to paint the larger blocks.
(Jessica Kerr, left, and Taylor Carr, right, take a break from painting in a van a community member lent them for the duration the project.)
“We had like a community help day to get all the colors in place, and then when it got to the finer details we just kind of took care of those parts,” Carr said. “I think everybody who wanted to help got a chance to paint.”
Kerr said the idea was to draw from everyday people and give them the opportunity to invest in their community.
“We framed the conversation around commemorating Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an individual, but then also talking about what it means to make place in space, as well as change,” Kerr said. “So this idea that, here’s an individual who had structural and institutional impact on the highest level, but actually it’s regular people, just every day painting and doing [the work].”
The majority of donations were $25, Carr said.
Even after it’s all said and done though, Kerr said the mural is a lasting reminder that the community we live in is a place we every day.
“We don’t have to go to Kansas City or to Denver to turn down a place and see something beautiful, that is possible here,” Kerr said. “And it’s possible to work within the talents and resources that we have locally.”
(Photos courtesy of Jessica Kerr)