Repost from @tlynnfaz, a prolific contemporary artist we are excited to have the pleasure of working with over the coming months. Her quote below is a powerful illustration of the challenges we face today within our public art structures: "My America Is Black mural was taken down in Oklahoma City because, despite having permission to install the work from the building owner, all murals in OKC must go through a proposal process and be approved by the OKC Arts Commission.
The OKC Arts Commission has 15 commissioners. 14 of which are white. 11 of which are men.
I understand needing permits from the city. I've done murals with only permission from the property owner but, I've also done murals that absolutely needed permits from city. But an approval in OKC, this from their website, "to ensure aesthetic quality, design integrity and to determine that a mural is appropriate to its setting, architecture, and social context" from a group of commissioners that is almost completely white men is bullshit.
My mural is 100% not for them.
I'm going to submit a proposal. For this mural, and for another mural project I want to develop in OKC. But I'm already discouraged based on that group of commissioners, being a black woman artist, and who/what my art represents.
This is why "diversity" is not only important in the work and faces we get to see - it needs to be behind the scenes. Who is in the room making the decisions. Who is deciding what is a "quality aesthetic". And because I know this, it is why taking public space is important for me. Why a lot of the public art I've done has been without permission. It's why work like @stoptellingwomentosmile is more than just putting up a pretty picture on an outdoor wall. It's about physically and metaphorically, as a woman, Taking. Space. Because I don't want to ask white men for permission for anything."