GREENSBORO, N.C. — Artists across the country have been at the forefront of this historical time of change surrounding racial justice. Some have painted murals in front of city buildings while others have lined the boarded windows of downtown business.
Now, the work of some Greensboro artists is being frozen in time in the Greensboro History Museum. This, after civil unrest caused store owners to board up their windows for protection.
“One-hundred years from now when people look back and say, ‘What the heck happened in 2020, and why?’ This is part of the culture and the stories that go along with it,” said Carol Ghiorsi, director of Greensboro History Museum.
Stories of injustice, community and hope are what the pieces of art that lined the streets of downtown Greensboro symbolize.
“It felt like one giant outdoor museum, but also a community gathering,” Ghiosi said.
Representing a time that will forever be etched in history.
“The murals are important. But even more important for the history museum is the stories behind the murals,” Ghiorsi said.
The more than 30 murals will be showcased in various ways and in different displays. The artwork includes a mix of professional artist samples to boards that community members wrote messages on.
“Some of these boards will be in our permanent collection on display. Some will be a part of an upcoming exhibit this fall called, ‘North Carolina Democracy,’” Ghiorsi said.
Marshall Lakes is one of more than a dozen artists whose work was chosen as part of the upcoming display.
“I am Greensboro history now,” Lakes said.
With the stroke of his paintbrush, Lakes recreated an original photo taken by Kevin Green showing a Black man and young white girl holding hands during a protest.
“if I couldn’t paint that I wasn’t going to paint,” he said.
He got permission from the artist to recreate the image that’s now gone viral. Lakes painted his version in black and white.
For Lakes, his artwork that will now be seen in the museum feels like an accomplishment he’s long awaited.
“When I actually walk in the museum and see that piece it will be the thing that goes like, wow!” he said.
While he wants the community to feel his message through his work, there’s one person he hopes is especially impressed.
“I can take my mom to go see it and she will be justified in supporting my career,” Lakes said.
The museum is currently closed due to COVID-19, but once they are open, patrons can come see the artwork made right here in Greensboro.