Artists paint 'BLACK LIVES MATTER’ street mural in heart of uptown

CHARLOTTE — Wednesday night, the Million Youth march of Charlotte is planning a march to remember George Floyd in Marshall Park. One of their stops -- a new mural in the heart of uptown on North Tryon Street that reads “Black Lives Matter.”

Artists, collaborating with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte is Creative, Brand the Moth and BLKMRKTCLT, began taping off the letters just after sunrise Tuesday on uptown’s most visible street -- between 3rd and 4th streets. The project finished Tuesday night around 7 p.m.

The city said 17 artists were involved in the project. Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon spent the day with the artists, who told him no two letters are the same.

Each artist crafted and adopted their own design to the mural, and said each letter carries its own message. Combined, it powerfully spells one collective thought.

For one artist, the mural is a proclamation.

“Me screaming all day that my life matters is way different from you seeing a visual representation,” they said.

“It’s absolutely beautiful to me,” said Matthew Clayburn.

The city commissioned artists to paint the words Black Lives Matter along Tryon Street, a street where thousands of protesters have marched for more than a week.

“I’m just completely proud to be a Charlottean,” said resident Ohavia Phillips.

The city never announced the project -- instead, it came as a surprise to people coming into uptown Tuesday morning. The artists were able to pull off something that would normally take three months of planning in just three days.

Sonya Pfieffer brought her 9-year-old daughter to see the mural.

“I’m actually shaking a little bit,” she said. "You feel the energy. You feel the power. You feel the passion.”

Michael DeVaul told Channel 9 he was moved to tears.

“The tears in my eyes are actually for the boys in the community who will see this and know that they belong to the system,” he said.

“I have watched people hugging each other, high-fiving,” said Tim Minor with Charlotte is Creative.

Below is a gallery of images of the mural, including all 16 individual letters.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden were among those to stop by Tuesday to celebrate the new image.

“We are going to turn the corner on how things are going,” Clayburn said.

The message will last for a long time. The paint used is the same type of paint used at street crossings. Those who made the mural told Channel 9 they will never forget the moment.

A similar project was conducted last week in Washington D.C., and in Raleigh, artists painted “End Racism Now” on a downtown street.

Participating artists include:

  • Dammit Wesley, @dammit_wesley
  • Dakotah Johnson, @dakotahaiyanna
  • Matthew Clayburn, @matthewclayburn
  • Abel Jackson, @artbyabel
  • Garrison Gist, @2gzandcountin
  • Owl & Arko, @owl.clt and @arko.clt
  • Kyle Mosher, @thekylemosher
  • Franklin Kernes, @fk.creative
  • Kiana Mui, @kmuii
  • Marcus Kiser, @marcus_kiser
  • Georgie Nakima, @gardenofjourney
  • Zach McLean, @part_t1m3
  • Frankie Zombie, @frankie.zombie_
  • CHD:WCK!, @chdwckart
  • John Hairston, @jagolactus_
  • Dari Calamari, @daricalamari

WATCH: Drone video of the Black Lives Matter street mural in uptown Charlotte: