WASHINGTON (ABC7) — For Levi Robinson, there’s so much more to his artwork than the beauty fashioned by his brushwork.
Robinson says, “It’s extremely humbling to be in a position to say something at a time like this.”
On the day of the Commitment March on Washington, the National Building Museum opened an exhibition of seismic importance for a nation facing the pain of racial injustice.
Cathy Frankel with the National Building Museum says, “It’s going to continue to remind people what’s going on in the world right now, what’s going on in D.C. and I really love that we can be a part of in such a big way here at the museum.”
Soon after protests erupted in the nation’s capital, artists started creating murals on boarded-up storefronts to reflect the anguish and the hope of the Black Lives Matter movement. Head here for a powerful long form story we did called 'The Mural March' that featured many of these murals.
The PAINTS Institute partnered with the DowntownDC BID to commission these socially conscious works of art that now dot city streets like Black Lives Matter Plaza and neighborhoods like Gallery Place.
The National Building Museum is now displaying some of those pieces outside their stunning space in Northwest Washington. It's a powerful landscape for Ashley Renee Watkins and her friend Tyrone Chambers II.
“To have public art that is allowed and given a voice and given permission for that voice that resonates a lot and it speaks to where we are, when we are and hopefully where we are going," says Watkins.
Which brings us to the second part of this exhibition. Six artists are creating, on the museum’s lawn, new murals honoring the “Big Six” civil rights activists who organized the March on Washington 57 years ago: John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr, James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young and Roy Wilkins.
“It’s very humbling to have a paintbrush in my hand and tell a story," says artist Demont Pinder. Pinder says his work speaks to compassion and honesty.
“I think Dr. King is still fed up. As humble as he was and turning the other cheek, it’s like he ran out of cheeks," adds Pinder.
The artist plan on finishing the "Big Six" murals Saturday. The exhibit is slated to remain up through November.
While this unique terrain captures a country in turmoil, each canvas also serves as a portal to the possibility that we can, together, create a more perfect union on the day so many came together to remind us that equality matters.
Chambers says, “Hopefully, there won’t need to be more inspiration 57 years from now. But I was here and that’s in my heart forever.”
ABC7's Justin Hinton visited the site on Saturday morning as the artists were set to finish the "Big Six" exhibit.