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City Council Supports United We Stand Street Mural Project
This past weekend, hundreds of community members including teens, young adults, and families with children came together as volunteers to create a street mural on North Poplar Street in the City of Lincolnton. The weekend painting event attracted people of all colors and walks of life in a collaborative, peaceful project to support the minority communities that live in Lincolnton. Titled “United We Stand,” the colorful artwork is a statement of solidarity.
“This project has really sparked our minority and young adult citizens, and they participated in large numbers by painting, donating supplies, stopping to talk with participants and supporting the message of ‘United We Stand,” said Mayor Ed Hatley. He continued, “Although it is sad that the mural was defaced before it was formally completed, the damage is being repaired, and a new 30-foot flagpole and American Flag will be installed on Monday, July 20th to complete the overall project.”
Many communities around the country are creating street mural projects like Charlotte’s “Black Lives Matter” and Dallas, NC’s “End Racism Now” installations. Based on these recent area projects, the artist and project leader, Demarius Pearson, appeared before City Council and requested permission for the community project on June 25th. During Pearson’s public comments, he presented preliminary concept artwork for council review, and council approved further development of the project while reserving final review and approval of the final art.
According to Mayor Hatley, “There was some confusion that created objections from people because they did not know the purpose or message of the artwork, or misunderstood the design concept, or just didn’t like the project, which is OK. We added a US Flag at the park because it made sense as we reviewed the art. We are pleased that our Lincolnton Police Department identified the culprit so quickly. We expect the street mural to be driven on, and it was designed with that in mind, but intentional damage is not acceptable. The final art is a colorful mosaic and we are proud of Demarius Pearson and everyone that participated in the project.”
Pearson designed the artwork for “United We Stand” to recognize and celebrate Black, Latino, LGBTQ, and all residents of Lincolnton by using colors to represent skin tones, Latino heritage and the LGBTQ rainbow. Each letter of the message is painted in colors that represent each minority group and the letters WE include all 3 paint styles and colors. The artwork was developed into a final version and approved by council members shortly before the street painting began on July 11.
The mural is located on a city-owned street, adjacent to the downtown park and popular Marcia Cloninger Rail Trail that runs through Lincolnton. All labor, supplies and paint were funded by direct public donations to the project. N Poplar Street will remain closed until the flagpole and flag are installed next week. The Council review process was not unusual, Council has directly approved requests from the community during public comments in a similar manner, including Hesed House of Hope financial support.
There have been several community solidarity activities in Lincolnton including Calls to Prayer and Prayer Walks at the Court Square. The next Call to Prayer is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30pm and another Prayer Walk is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28 at 6:30pm. Both assemblies will be on the south Court Square Lawn in downtown Lincolnton.
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