Lead Artists for Mural Announced

Jenny Pickens

The Asheville Area Arts Council on July 3 announced the three artists picked to administer a Black Lives Matter mural, to be sited downtown spanning North to South Pack Square: Muralist and dollmaker Jenny Pickens, an Asheville native; painter Joseph Pearson, who moved to the area five years ago from New Orleans; and Marie T. Cochran, an installationist and educator from Toccoa, Georgia, and the founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project. The three will direct the design and implementation of the mural, with a timeline to be determined. Asheville City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith notes in a press statement that “the artists who will put their hands to this street mural represent many untold stories. It is my hope that all eyes that connect with this piece will experience and appreciate the bloody truths released from our collective memory onto a hard canvas. Yet, this is more than a painting or bold expression. It’s an altar that observes the most sacred social movement of my lifetime.”

Reached by Asheville Made, Pickens notes that she is “very excited about being chosen as one of the lead artists.” She was given the theme “LIVES” to depict how the movement is impacting families and future generations. “My hope is to unite all of us. We are stronger together.”

She adds, “Our country is finally bringing attention to what Black people have endured for hundreds of years — not just police brutality, but injustice. Although there is a lot of support from others, no one really understands what we are experiencing. The Black Lives Matter mural is just the beginning of awareness and much-needed changes that are long overdue.”

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