Street art from Floyd protests gets permanent home

Street art from Floyd protests gets permanent home

Published 5:54 am Friday, September 22, 2023

By Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio News

A group that collected and preserved hundreds of plywood murals from the George Floyd protests has found a permanent home for them.

During the civil unrest that followed the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, business owners across the Twin Cities covered their doors and windows with plywood to deter rioters. Artists followed and created murals on many of the panels.

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Leesa Kelly founded Memorialize the Movement in 2020, which collected and preserved hundreds of murals painted on about 1,000 four-by-eight-foot pieces of plywood.

Kelly’s group is seeking volunteers this weekend to move the artwork from a small storage room in the Northrup King Building to a building on Snelling Avenue in Minneapolis, two blocks from the former Third Precinct police station and close to the historic Coliseum Building, which is undergoing a $29 million renovation.

Kelly said that the new space has room for occasional public exhibitions, and it’s in a part of the city where much of the art originated.

“The neighborhood is a big mural neighborhood,” Kelly said. “There’s still a lot of murals up. There were a lot of really important murals that were created in that area.”

Memorialize the Movement received grant funding to rent the new space, which belongs to DuNord Social Spirits, a Black-owned distillery.

“There’ve been a lot of growing pains, but it feels really good to finally see the fruits of our labor blooming, and seeing people believe in us enough to invest in us and take a chance on us.”

Kelly said she plans to create a photographic catalog of the murals.

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