Artists paint Decatur electrical box with uplifting message for Black community
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Decatur, GA — An electrical box just outside the Avondale MARTA station now bears the work of Dekalb-area artists Lori Smith and Jordyn White, who collaborated on a mural uplifting the Black community.
The mural on the box at the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Sycamore Drive features silhouettes of people communicating through a tin-can telephone, with phrases such as “Black lives are… authentic, worthy, resilient.”
“Because ‘Black Lives matter’ is a term you hear so often, it could possibly get watered down,” said artist Lori Smith. “So with our piece, we wanted people to think deeper and wanted to show what Black lives are. Not just an empty phrase, but we wanted to put some sustenance behind it.”
Jordyn White said the inspiration for the tin cans came from the children’s game “telephone”. The tin can telephone also ties the painting together through all sides of the electrical box.
The artists had been painting in the sun, heat, and rain for five days before putting the finishing touches on the work on Monday.
Community members often yelled praise or encouragement from their cars while stopped at the intersection, which made Smith and White smile and gave them the motivation to keep painting.
Smith is an art teacher at Pine Ridge Elementary School in Stone Mountain, and has also taught after-school art classes around Decatur.
White is a graduate student at Clark Atlanta University, working towards her Master’s in Social Work. She said she never had to work a traditional job while in undergrad at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, because she would sell her paintings. She graduated from Decatur High School in 2015.
An unveiling for the painting will take place tonight, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. at the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Sycamore Drive. The artists will speak briefly about their work.
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