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One message told 16 ways: Artists behind Black Lives Matter mural in Palo Alto ask what more will be done beyond street art

Original post made on Jul 1, 2020

Right now, the public can visit Hamilton Avenue in front of City Hall to see a nearly 245-foot-long and 17-foot-tall vibrant street mural reflecting the global Black Lives Matter movement as seen through the eyes of 16 artists.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 5:31 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by the real donald
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2020 at 7:11 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Rod
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Good news and bad news. The good news is that this artwork is beautiful and everyone involved in creating it deserves an attaboy! Bad news is that next month a telecom plans to bury a new fiber optic line under Hamilton Avenue, and the crews will have to cut through this art.

Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:21 pm

Kudos to the leaders and artists who got this mural done in RECORD time, given the notorious Palo Alto process. It’s beautiful and powerful. And yes, Palo Alto has MUCH more, much harder work ahead to achieve racial equity. Let’s do it.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:29 pm

I think the BLACK LIVES MATTER mural in front of City Hall 250 Hamilton is a high water mark for culture here in the last 25 or 30 years. Kudos to the makers, staff, volunteers and leaders. In that order.
I read it like a codex: not sure what it means, it will reveal itself over time, to me, to you, to each his her or their own.
I say, as 1 in 10,000 voters here, we keep the cars off it for a few more weeks. And the tenants of 267 Hamilton can park elsewhere for a while.

Posted by Photo and Postcard
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 6:22 am

City or Art Commission - please take a very good elevated photo (and later, postcard) as soon as it is done, before it gets dirty.

Posted by Truth
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 2, 2020 at 6:36 am

Let's All Be Real! Every City and State that is approving and funding these "paint ins" are getting along with the business of "Politics: Businesses, Votes!" and pacifying the would be protesters, as if they are kindagarden's. Humans can care about one another without visual art, that's been art. "Can the Paint, and Dust off the Soul"

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:10 am

Speak truth to power with paint (in response to @Truth)
Leader ship could reach out to Wealthfront Roxie Rapp and Ventana and suggest they forgo the garage for a few weeks

Posted by Uh Huh
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:29 am

Ok. So does everyone feel good now? Because acts and comments like this are purely self-reflexive and will do next to nothing to makes things better.

Posted by Beautiful
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:55 am

This is absolutely beautiful and I plan to go downtown to visit it and pay tribute to the BLM movement.

Posted by Powerful art
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Visually powerful...I hope it is just a start toward policy changes that create a real difference. Get to really know your candidates...not just on social media. Look at their experience and their records. Check their web sites. Research what have they accomplished politically in the past. It takes a certain temperament and discipline to build coalitions and effect change. Look for this and

Posted by doria Summ
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 2, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Unless I missed something, sorry in advance if that’s the case , I believe the idea for a BLM street mural originated with council member Lydia Kou at the June 9th
Meeting. I did not notice that the article acknowledged that fact.

Great execution of Cc member Kou’s idea!
Bravo everyone!!!

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Kudos to Kou!

Posted by Wind and Rain
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:01 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Linda Murphy
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:03 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:13 pm

@Linda, @Wind —
I guess between the two of you that finally explains Adam Yauch of the beastie boys and his Tibetan freedom concert. 1994. And why they had John Lee Hooker as the opening act and Richie Havens. Cibo Mato got a higher billing.
I wasn’t there but I have the poster.

Posted by Rod
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:41 pm

Kou might have suggested this at the June 9 meeting, but the idea originated in Washington DC on June 5 when activists painted “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street near the White House. Almost instantly the idea was replicated in Charlotte, NC, Austin, Dallas and Topeka. They also painted it in the CHOP Vegan-zuela zone in Seattle. By the time Lydia stumbled upon this idea it had already gone nationwide.

While Progressives don’t like competitions, a city doesn’t get any points for virtue signaling when it’s at the back of the pack of the latest fad.

Before Lydia offered this idea, there was talk that activists would paint Forest Avenue in front of the police station with Black Lives Matter. But that enraged the cops who convinced Shikada to do this on Hamilton.

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:57 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by SD
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Love to see this artwork on t-shirts and sweatshirts, raising money for BLM. It's just beautiful and I love the diversity of style and stories behind each letter.

Posted by JustSayin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 4, 2020 at 5:56 am

These murals should be on city hall and other buildings in Palo Alto. NOT on a dirty filthy street! BLM Artists, GET OFF YOUR KNEES. #StillSuppresed

Posted by Dan
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 4, 2020 at 10:22 am

I’m part Native American, and if you look at the numbers, Natives have been at least as abused, or more, than black Americans. Why can’t I paint a Native American Lives Matter mural? Is someone deciding that my culture is not as important?

Posted by R Prunty
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 5, 2020 at 6:48 am

What message is the City Council sending to their law enforcement officers as they enter city hall everyday? Was the council aware that the letters E and R in Matter depict one of the FBI’s most wanted women, Assata Shakur? The art depicts the photo she chose for her autobiography “Assata”. Assata was a member of the Black Liberation Army and personally convicted of killing a New Jersey Trooper. Assata lives in Cuba under asylum. Well played Palo Alto. Your officers must look down on the face of a convicted cop killer everyday as they come into your city to protect you. And your message is.....

This community respects our police and the difficult job they must do. This Is a disgrace and must be rectified.

Posted by Dangerous!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 5, 2020 at 7:42 am

Isn't there a potential danger here?

Imagine a dark winter's evening, raining hard, and someone driving can't see a figure wearing dark clothes with a yellow vest, against the backdrop of this "mural", and hits them.

Is it legal for roadways to have this type of artwork? Can busy roadways have space sold to raise revenue for the City? Does it have to be "feel good" messages, or can we have advertising and political allegiance also?

Is this the start of a new trend?

Posted by Ryan Chen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 5, 2020 at 12:56 pm

I would like to have a similar painting for our LGBTQ community, next to City Hall, at the same size as the BLM one. We need this too. How can we get the permit for this? We will need to block the street for several days, so I assume we need City Hall approval. Where do we start?

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2020 at 4:58 pm

@Ryan Chen-
If you hit me via my blog or via the publishers of the Weekly, there is a man in my neighborhood who says he is straight but he gets commissions as an artist from gay people and he is good at painting burley, "bear" type males -- I will pledge $1,000 if this local Palo Alto artist will do a mural in honor of LGBT rights on a building I inherited 8 percent of, downtown, with a wall -- I can ask our GP for permission. The building is ribbed, so to speak, which might complicate the matter. I'd like to see more black art vertical, so to speak. On the walls here. I'm totally straight, too but I think all people are God's children and we all deserve the same dignity and opportunity.
The artist is named K_____.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 7, 2020 at 3:56 pm

So obviously Mr. Prunty’s point rebuts the headline: Black Lives Matter can mean different things to different people personally I think of it as an extension of civil rights from the 1960s and MLK and less about Malcolm X. Maybe there are 100 messages and thousands of possible conclusions or interpretations by and large it is about positive social change and inclusivity and making Palo Alto better for all people.
I think the “B” can be read thru its glyphs as “ACAB” a message that I do not support but in this context I am willing to give the young Black activist “BAMR” the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2020 at 3:19 am

New Jersey State Police aren't happy with Palo Alto.

Web Link

Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Adding a murderer and fugitive to the BLM mural is the noblest deed that one can do, and it is highly suggestive of the aforesaid organization's motives. Assata Shakur's friendly face is now painted into the street in its full glory and regalia.
How convenient it is, to put a cop killer's portrait right in front of the city hall, where police officers can go to work and see it every day, and be reminded that you can commit any crime and still be called a social justice hero.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 17, 2020 at 10:13 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

What more to be done? Every project has to have a purpose and a results obtained goal. You all have done the art work and worked with other people to accomplish a goal. The goal is now achieved.

Time for school to start and all of the students get back to the job of getting though school and working to the net objective - college? In the end you all have to be able to go to work and be able to move on with your lives. The rest of us are getting on with our lives - we all have lives that we are working on a daily basis.
Multitudes of ethnic groups in the US - all working to build a life. And the city has to get on with working the issues related to transportation and housing.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:39 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Since MLK was noted above the niece of MLK has been interviewed in relation to some recent deaths of notable civil rights leaders and she felt that the current movement is not productive and is going backwards to the 60's. The whole point of the 60's was to move forward and "normalize" life to the extent that everyone is treated equally. She stated this is a regressive effort led by many tangential groups that are capitalizing on the great accomplishments of the 60's greats, including her MLK relative.

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