Kansas City artists are working quickly to get messages out to the public.
The colorful brick walls of Art Alley on the east side of the Crossroads Arts District hold works of the city’s most talented muralists and graffiti artists. Art Alley’s newest masterpiece by artists Alex Eickhoff (Eye Cough) and Thomas Richmond (Sabertooth) makes a bold statement.
The Black Lives Matter tribute mural shows a line of police in riot gear with tear gas billowing up around them. A collage of important symbols in the movement—a raised fist, a portrait of civil rights activist James Baldwin and script reading “Black Lives Matter” in the same typeface of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Very Far Away from Anywhere Else—occupy the space, along with a painting of KC Superman Michael Wheeler, a well-liked runner-preacher often seen around town and at Chiefs and Royals games.
Richmond has done research on Baldwin for a long time and introduced the man and his voice to Eickhoff, who painted the Baldwin portrait. Richmond painted the Michael Wheeler portrait along with other elements of the mural.
The expansive mural was painted and debuted last Sunday, just over two weeks after the first Black Lives Matter protests started in Kansas City following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The mural took more than five hours to complete.
“It is meant to cause a reaction, to seek the symbols, to discover who, why, what, where, how, when,” artist Richmond says of the artwork. “I feel confident in the imagery and voices that we depicted in terms of this very important Black Lives Matter movement.”
GO: Art Alley KC, 509 E. 18th St., KCMO.