On the road with royal alley-barnes, Interim Director for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Seattle is an incredible City that is home to a diverse and expansive art and cultural sector. Almost every neighborhood is home to art, artists, and the threads that weave our cultural landscape into a rich city that thrives because art is everywhere. From our city’s first people’s to the birth of the state, music, art and culture have defined our region.
Supporting, strengthening, and celebrating the rich history and the people who continue to make Seattle one of the nation’s most livable cities is the heart of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Interim Director alley-barnes vision and the impetus behind this blog series celebrating “artists everywhere.”
“Artists everywhere IS Art EVERYWHERE. Art is the music we listen to, the movies/plays/poems/books/anime/paintings/sculpture we laugh, cry, cling, empathize, live with and through. Artists and the public are the focal point of our mission, employing artists so that we can all enjoy art everywhere. I hope you explore the city with me and discover the art that is everywhere.”royal alley-barnes, Interim Director, Office of Arts & Culture
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is an incubator that strengthens the arts sector and Creative Economy through grants, Public Art, arts experiences in public schools. For the first feature in this series, we take a look back at the Black Lives Matter mural restoration in Capitol Hill.
In July 2022, ARTS partnered with Vivid Matter Collective, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and community volunteers to repaint the Black Lives Matter mural on Capitol Hill.
Created on June 11, 2020, Vivid Matter Collective – now comprised of 16 local artists – created the 250-feet-long Black Lives Matter mural along Pine Street as a creative reflection of the grief, anger, pain, hope, and resilience of the Black community amidst the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests in Capitol Hill.
In September 2020, ARTS and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) began collaborations with the 15 original artists from Vivid Matter Collective to recreate and maintain the mural.
“The annual repainting of the now landmark Black Lives Matter street mural serves as an opportunity for reflection and reverence. We as the artists responsible remember that fateful day when we painted the mural seen around the world June 11, 2020. What has happened since then is the effect of that effort. We decided to form a collective to continue to support one another in our artistic endeavors. We opened a gallery, with support from Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, to continue to show our work and share with the community. As monumental of a moment that mural was, what we got from it was so much more. We got each other. We’ve all experienced individual and collective successes since then, but the real reward is connection, affirmation and a renewed sense of purpose. Our hope with the mural continuing to hold space on Capitol Hill is that the people who encounter it are reminded of the energy of that time, and continue to commune, speak, work and grow from a place of connection and want for everyone to have their fair share. To live and thrive, not just survive.”Takiyah Ward, Co-Founder of Vivid Matter Collective
Among the volunteers at the recent restoration was ARTS Interim Director, royal alley-barnes, who assisted in repainting the large letters while also connecting with the muralists and volunteers.
“The recent restoration of the Black Lives Matter mural shows the utmost importance of this artwork to both the community and the City. What an honor it was to share the afternoon with Vivid Matter Collective artists, ARTS & SDOT staff, and – most importantly – community members who collectively share the desire to ensure the legacy of the mural prevails for time to come.”royal alley-barnes, Interim Director, Office of Arts & Culture
“This mural feels like a representation of our neighborhood and of our city. To see Vivid Matter Collective and community members show up to be a part of archiving this moment together feels really important to the work we should be doing as a city.”Ricky Reyes, ARTS Public Art Project Manager
Today, the mural stands as a reminder of the importance and cultural significance of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. ARTS and SDOT remain committed to ensuring this mural and its message are preserved for years to come.