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Sunday, September 19, 2021

‘Black Lives Matter’ mural artists celebrate first anniversary

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It’s been one year since a group of 18 artists joined together to create the “Black Lives Matter” mural downtown. To commemorate the anniversary, the Indianapolis Arts Council opened the exhibition, 365+, to showcase work from the 18 artists. Earlier this year, the group launched EIGHTEEN Art Collective to provide artists the opportunity to get their work in the public eye.

“Three-hundred sixty-five days marks the end of a year, but it also provides space to begin another,” Deonna Craig, president of the EIGHTEEN Art Collective, said. “Coming full circle is a part of our story. We want to highlight that while we were introduced as 18 artists who activated a mural for Black Lives Matter, before and after we were working visual artists. This exhibit is a visual depiction that Black Lives Matter year-round. The work continues. We continue. Not just for one day but for 365.”

Through Oct. 15, visitors can see artwork from several veteran artists, including Gary Gee and Rebecca Robinson, as well as up-and-coming Indianapolis artists. Throughout September, visitors can sign up for programs, such as painting and drawing classes, in conjunction with the exhibit.

Artist Kyng Rhodes said the collective is representing how diverse the Indianapolis arts scene is, in terms of art mediums and the artists themselves.

“I’ve never belonged to an art collective of adult artists and there’s a lot of genders, non-binary artists, we have women, men, just people that don’t use any pronouns,” Rhodes said. “EIGHTEEN has a lot of representation for all different types of communities and multiple art disciplines, like concrete and animations.”

Rhodes said support for EIGHTEEN from the community is proof that it’s possible to be a full-time artist in Indianapolis.

“One of the many things that is exciting about the EIGHTEEN Collective is the mentoring and relationships that have been built and strengthened,” Mark Williams, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Art Center, said. “We love being a community gathering space that the collective feels a part of and can come back to over and over.”

The exhibition will conclude at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 with a closing reception featuring a panel discussion with all 18 artists.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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