Look at the image above. What do you notice? Who is depicted in the mural? What do you think the words mean?
The mural was the main piece in a Mural Festival organized by the Jersey City Mural Arts Program in 2021. The event took place after a year in which many people’s lives were restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the first cases of the disease were discovered in China, many Asian Americans experienced prejudice and intolerance after the pandemic. The artist, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, painted the mural, called Stand With Us, to honor the Asian American community in New Jersey.
Murals are large pictures painted directly onto a wall. Murals can be found in communities all over the country. They can be paid for by individuals, organizations, or companies. They can be used to make large political statements, as in the case of Stand With Us. They might also honor historical figures or events.
The historic highway Route 66 runs through the town of Cuba, Missouri. The town decided to attract visitors by painting murals on its buildings. There are 14 murals that people on the highway can see as they drive through town. They show historic events from the town and the region. The mural above shows the meeting of European settlers and Osage, the people the lived in the area before Europeans. It was painted by an Osage artist named Norman Akers.
Sometimes murals don’t have a political message or depict famous people. The mural above is on a restaurant. It is in a neighborhood called Pilsen in Chicago. It shows people who live in the neighborhood. It shows people who work in the neighborhood. It shows the man who started the restaurant.
What Do You Think? Imagine you have been assigned to paint a mural in your community. What would you paint and why?
Photo Credits: [top] Mural by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. Photo by Ben Lau, [center] Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-66963], [bottom] McGraw Hill