AVL Black Lives Matter Mural
On Sunday, July 19, 20+ artists came together to create a Black Lives Matter mural in the heart of downtown Asheville. Many thanks go to Councilwoman Sheneika Smith for providing the leadership to bring community members, artists, and the Asheville of City together to create this community project. The Asheville Area Arts Council is proud to serve as the coordinating body and fiscal agent for this initiative, which we and our partners agree can, in Sheneika’s words: “ galvanize solidarity and celebrate our collective movement towards addressing systemic issues locally”.
Lead Artist for the word Black
Joseph Pearson is a native Mississippian. He moved to Asheville five years ago from New Orleans. He is a national and international award-winning painter specializing in portraits, murals, and figure drawing. Pearson’s work has social and political leanings and can be found throughout New Orleans, Hammond, and Alexandria in Louisiana. His work can also be found in several places around Asheville, including an installation at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village and in Benne on Eagle in downtown. Pearsons has been collected and exhibited regionally and nationally. He trained at the Art Student League in New York for five years under a full scholarship. Pearson also holds a B.S. in Art Education and a Master’s in Education.
Lead Artist for the word Lives
Jenny Pickens is a self-taught artist from Asheville, NC. At a very young age she had a love for drawing and crafting with her hands. Pickens’s work extends across several mediums, including pencil, pen and ink, pastels, oils, fiber arts, pottery, and jewelry, but her medium of choice is acrylics. She has received several awards, and her work has been featured in newspapers, galleries, and festivals. Pickens also has several murals throughout the city, including her newest installation at LEAF Global Arts. Pickens says her paintings and crafts are related to cultural background, and that is something she never wants to lose.
Lead Artist for the word Matter
Marie T. Cochran is a native of the Northeast Georgia Mountains. She is the founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project, which celebrates the intersection of cultures in Appalachia and nurtures a network of individuals and organizations committed to the sustainability of a diverse region. As a visual artist, Cochran creates mixed media pieces that address community history and are often grounded in interdisciplinary dialogues focused on social justice. She has exhibited extensively throughout the Southeast and nationally. Cochran received degrees from the University of Georgia (BFA) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA). She has been an art faculty member at colleges in Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina. Cochran was recently named the 2020/2021 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies at Duke University and American Studies and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
Additional Volunteer Artists
Michelle Acevedo, Manuela Acevedo, Jackie Barnard, Joseph Crimmins, Stephanie Flores, Nastassia Hearst, Ethan Hunt, Hasana Hunt, Kaleb Hunt, Trazon Mason, Sanii Thomas, Pamela Washington, and Arabelle Watters
We have reached our fundraising goal, but are still collecting funds for the maintenance of the mural. The more funds raised, the longer we will be able to keep the mural in place. Any remaining funds will go towards our Arts Build Community grant program. Thank you again for your support! This was truly a community effort.