Using art as civic glue in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- What is it that is the glue that keeps a diverse community together?

For Ram Sethuraman, the answer is simple: art.

“Art really does unite people,” he says, “because artists think differently.”

Ram is not an artist – but he knows some. He’s an American, now, though he grew up in India.

“I thought it was my duty as a US citizen that I need to give back to America in a very positive way and I thought, 'OK, this is a cool thing to do,’” he says.

Ram discovered the cool thing when he was back in India on business and saw a huge mural in Bombay. He found out who the artist was and got that artist to come to America and do a mural on Ram’s house – but not just any mural, the mural of a certain Indian lady.

“The best thing is her smile,” says the artist, Ranjit Dahiya. “She's got a very beautiful smile - you cannot help smile when you see it.”

And you cannot help see it, when you drive down Ram’s block in the Westerwood neighborhood of Greensboro.

“I fell in love with public area because it allows everyone access to it,” says Kim, the artist who helped Ranjit paint the mural. “It's available to everybody, it doesn't matter what class you're in, it doesn't matter how much money you have. This just feels more humbling to me, it feels more genuine.”

And, Ram hopes, feels more inspiring.

“The whole thing of trying to capture the imagination of people,” he says.

See the mural – and who it depicts – in this edition of the Buckley Report.