Pullman Arts Commission paints history with “End Racism Now” mural

PAC chose mural design for project combating racism, hopes to extend submission due date

The+Pullman+Arts+Commission+will+recommend+the+%E2%80%9CEnd+Racism+Now+Black+Lives+Matter%E2%80%9D+mural+with+the+rainbow+background+to+the+City+Council+on+Feb.+23.

SCREENSHOT FROM MEETING

The Pullman Arts Commission will recommend the “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural with the rainbow background to the City Council on Feb. 23.

TIMOTHY FAIRBANKS-CLOUSER, Evergreen reporter

The Pullman Arts Commission chose a mural design to recommend to the Pullman City Council for the “End Racism Now” project that will be painted in town later this year.

Joanna Bailey, Neill Public Library director, read 35 emails with comments from the public regarding the “End Racism Now” project and recommendations for submissions. The emails represented a broad range of opinions from community members.

Some individuals praised the project’s goal to bring awareness to systemic racism, while others criticized the idea of “Black Lives Matter” being a part of the mural. Members who expressed disinterest in the wording said the BLM statement draws attention to a political movement instead of systemic racism.

Many people expressed disinterest in the John Lennon-inspired “Imagine” mural. Community members who responded felt the song does not directly address systemic racism and Lennon admitted to abusing women before his death.

“A colorblind statement is not more inclusive,” said a community member in their email to PAC. “It just massages the egos of white people.”

PAC Chair Jeri Harris said out of the top three submissions received, the “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural with a rainbow background received the most favorable reviews at 80. The other “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural, which included additional wording within the “BLM” statement, received the second most with 63 favorable reviews. The Imagine mural only received 20 reviews.

PAC will recommend the “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural with the rainbow background to the City Council on Feb. 23, Harris said.

She said the last day to provide feedback was Feb. 7, but the PAC recommends that the City Council allow submissions to reopen. People are still discussing the project on social media sites. PAC believes that if submissions reopen, the committee will receive more than before.

“I feel like we’re a part of history here in Pullman,” Harris said.

PAC expressed interest in the designs already submitted but wants this project to be the best possible. If the decision to reopen submission is approved, PAC would have to push the timeline of selecting a new recommended submission to mid-March.

The city will have the mural painted later this year.