Arts & Entertainment
One year after George Floyd, Park City Black Lives Matter murals draw criticism
PARK CITY, Utah. — In the wake of the one-year anniversaries of the murder of George Floyd and the police killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, Lex Scott, President of Black Lives Matter (BLM) Utah wants Park City to know something: “Not all black people loved the murals.”
To those who need to catch up, in response to the police killing of Utah resident Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal and to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis policemen on May 25, 2020, the Park City Summit County Arts Council organized the painting of four 20-feet by 300-feet murals on Main Street, with the goal of celebrating diversity within Park City’s community.
The first mural was the message, “Black Lives Matter”, painted at the top of Main Street in large multi-colored letters. The artist was Samoan-born Aljay Fuimaono. The second mural was an artistically embellished message of “Peace, Unity, Love” by the Roots Art Collective. The other two murals were composed of the message “Justicia Para Todos”, with the word todos composed of portraits of men killed by police in Utah. The men in those portraits included Dillon Taylor, Darrien Hunt, Bryan Pena Valencia, and Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. That mural was created by Mariella Mendoza and Jorge Arellano, members of the Nopalera Artists Collective, a group of Latinx and indigenous artists and activists.
In a statement posted on the BLM Utah Facebook page, Scott said, “No Black people were involved in painting the mural. No Black artists were involved.” She went on to say, “Do not paint a mural that says Black Lives matter on a street and then not change any policing policies. Do not exclude all Black people from the Black Lives Matter mural and then think you changed the world.” Later on, she added, “It was performative activism in every sense of the word.”
On July 8, 2020, the murals were vandalized during the night. The word, “Black” was painted over with grey paint, as was the letter “i” of the word “Lives”, which was depicted as a Black Power fist.
At the time, Park City Mayor Andy Beerman addressed the vandalism with the statement, “Bias and racism exist in our community. If we wish to overcome these, we must show courage to look inward, educate ourselves and hold those around us accountable for their actions, and inaction. We will use this event to further our community dialogue about social inequities.”
In response to the issue of Park City’s murals resurfacing, Scott said in her post, “I spoke with the Mayor of Park City for over an hour. I also spoke with the commission that chose the muralists. We came to the agreement that Park City would seek out diverse businesses for Silly Sunday (Market). They would help provide resources to hold a Black festival in Park City this summer. They agreed that in the future they will seek out voices and people from marginalized groups that represent themselves in these types of projects.”
You can view Scott’s entire statement:
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