Artists cover downtown in murals, messages for the Black Lives Matter movement

Tucson artists paint, decorate downtown in solitary with BLM
Updated: Jun. 3, 2020 at 5:30 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - After a weekend of protests in Tucson, some ending violently, there is beauty around downtown.

“I was really emotional, and I just started scribbling,” said Camila Ibarra, a Tucson artist.

Ibarra painted a mural of a Black woman wearing a mask with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” painted in her hair on the side of Hotel Congress on Wednesday.

Artists dusted the walls and sidewalks of downtown Tucson with pieces commemorating those...
Artists dusted the walls and sidewalks of downtown Tucson with pieces commemorating those people killed by police across the country. The death of George Floyd sparked outrage late May prompting protests for Black Lives Matter all over the U.S., including in Tucson.(Source: KOLD News 13)

"I did not feel good just like standing and sitting and doing nothing about it other than retweeting,” she said.

Ibarra said the mask denotes the year and time people are currently fighting for equality. She began her work around 5 a.m. and, as the mural took shape, people noticed.

“That makes it show the pain in people’s eyes and the pain in our culture with what’s going on,” said Lucien Yervasi, a passerby near the mural. “So, I feel somebody, sitting here, painting that, I think that’s really powerful.”

It’s not just Ibarra’s mural though, “Be Kind” is painted across plywood and windows, "Honor Black Lives” and “Listen” painted as well. Downtown Tucson is dusted with different messages and Genevieve Zarow spent a day taking it all in.

She said the art, murals and messages might be able to create common ground rather divide.

“I just know that everyone wants to be respected, and to me, this is just evidence that it’s affecting all of us,” Zarow said.

Outside the Children’s Museum, names chalked in every color represent people of one. The names of black Americans killed stretching almost a block. George Floyd’s name was written last.

The colors of chalk with a message so bright, they could not be ignored. Downtown Tucson is filled with statements many hope will translate to change.

“I’m not black, but I’m here fighting for them because I feel like everyone needs to be treated equally,” Ibarra said. “We don’t want to yell right now for it to go away later.”

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