The Black Lives Matter! mural on Plum Street now has a fresh coat of paint.
Dozens gathered outside Cincinnati City Hall on Friday for the unveiling of the retouched mural, which was first unveiled one year ago but had since fallen into disrepair due to vandalism and neglect.
The ceremony began just after 3 p.m. Friday, following the city's Juneteenth flag raising, and lasted about an hour with a poetry reading and group prayer closing out the event.
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The mural was painted in the aftermath of nationwide civil rights protests last summer, following the death of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
"This mural represents the perfect distillation of a moment in history when words escaped us all," said Eddie Koen, CEO of the Greater Southwest Ohio Urban League.
Black Art Speaks, the artist collective, repainted and made changes to the mural, including the addition of a protective sealant, with the city footing the bill. Cincinnati City Council approved the expenditure on May 26, taking $125,000 from city reserves to fund the project.
"Every person affiliated with this mural decided to stand against oppression, to stand against systems that divide and to destroy the very fabric of our community," said Alandes Powell, who organized the painting of the mural.
"The artists who agreed to do this last year, not knowing they were going to get paid when they said yes, they had never met me. It was the first time they heard my voice and they said yes," Powell said. "That's Cincinnati courage."
Almost all of the original artists from last year returned to retouch the mural.
Brent Billingsley, one of the artists who worked on the mural, said that just a year ago he was "a country boy who knew how to color inside the lines," but he's become an artist because of the mural.
"I think that this right here is just beginning," he said.