Children’s Museum opens exhibit on ‘The Art of Protest’

Art has the ability to change lives. Art can evoke strong emotion. Art can prompt action for a cause. Art can even share stories that words alone cannot always express. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has unveiled a special two-year exhibit, Stories from Our Community: The Art of Protest.

Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, art brought 18 strangers together in Indianapolis for a project on Indiana Avenue. By blending their shared passions for art, community and human rights, the artists created a street mural to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Each letter in the mural was created to reject injustice and share stories of the Black experience. The mural was vandalized just seven days after it was created.

The Children’s Museum now hopes to share the artists’ stories through a miniature recreation of the Black Lives Matter mural.

“If we can reach children with conversations that adults are having, the next generation may not have to go through the hardships that we are going through now,” said Deonna Craig, visiting artist at The Children’s Museum and one of the original Indiana BLM mural artists.

Visitors to the Museum can discover how the street mural changed these artist’s lives as they share their personal stories and experiences through a video. Children and families can then connect those stories to the artwork of miniature paintings of each letter of the mural that spells out #BlackLivesMatter. Light in the shape of the vandalism that destroyed the original street mural will periodically flash onto the canvases to represent the hostile reactions against the movement.

“It’s important to juxtapose our message and what we’re trying to fight against,” Craig said.

Visitors can also check out some of the objects used to create the mural such as paint brushes and tools along with some of their sketches. Stations with tablets are available for children and families to watch interviews with each of the artists providing 18 different perspectives of the mural art and its messages.

The museum will also feature additional artwork from the mural artists that is not associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, further demonstrating how art can be used as a form of expression and storytelling.

ART ABOVE: Stories from Our Community: The Art of Protest will be open for two years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.