GREENSBORO — After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Greensboro saw a flowering of public art to express feelings stirred amid protests against police brutality and racism.
Within days of demonstrations that turned destructive downtown on May 30 and 31, dozens of artists began to paint and draw on the plywood of boarded-up windows and other surfaces.
But other cities have also seen artists take their work to the streets — literally — with bright street murals.
So city officials have created a program to guide and encourage artists who may want to paint murals directly on public streets.
Greensboro city government and members of the arts community have joined together to encourage — and channel — the artists who might want to paint the murals.
Called simply the Street Mural Program, the effort was created based on requests from local artists and will be managed by Creative Greensboro, the city’s office of arts and culture.
Ryan Deal, the city’s chief creative economy officer, said Friday that the program was inspired after his office and other city departments got several requests from the creative community “and by similar creative expressions taking place right now in cities across the world.”
Although the program does not require City Council approval, Deal said, City Council members were involved in the discussions around the program, and the city’s Transportation Department already has a similar program in place.
Details were released early Friday afternoon, Deal said, so the city doesn’t have applications yet. But the guidelines for applicants are detailed, and the city has already selected a committee from the arts community to help select projects.
The committee will be comprised of city employees and local members of the arts community: Jocelyn Brown of the African American Atelier, Roy Carter, associate visual arts professor at NC A&T, Claudia Feminias, chair of Casa Azul, Darlene McClinton, co-owner of The Artist Bloc and grants manager for ArtsGreensboro and public arts consultant Cheryl Stewart.
The city’s program will encourage projects on streets with fewer than 10,000 average cars per day, will not provide any funding to artists, will encourage artists that can provide samples of their work and proof of their experience and will be allowed only on city-maintained streets. Art must be confined within paved roadway and not extend onto pavement markings, curbs or intersections.
Streets with lighter traffic are preferred, Deal said, because the art won’t be subject to heavy wear.
“A map has been provided in the guidelines to assist folks with identifying a preferable location,” Deal said.
The city also has created guidelines for accepted paint materials and ways that artists are expected to cooperate with city staff to get their work done.
The city says that artwork should not contain profanity, obscenity or explicit sexual imagery, nudity or graphic depictions of violence. Commercial, religious and political messages are out as well.
To submit an application for a project or to find more information, go to greensboro-nc.gov/departments/creative-greensboro.