Black Lives Matter mural artists launch new collective to help community through artwork

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INDIANAPOLIS — A new art collective made up of the artists who created the Black Lives Matter mural in Downtown Indy last summer hosts a launch event Saturday evening. 

The 18 Art Collective wanted to join forces to make a bigger impact using their skills and experience. 

Their team is made up of different skill sets and they plan on sharing those to inspire others.  

The 18 artists are hoping that by pooling their resources they can promote the messages local art has about civil rights and other topics.  

“Sometimes there are uncomfortable conversations that need to happen. And we have the skillset to make people think and to make people stop and pause and just take a look at art,” said 18 Art Collective President Deonna Craig. 

“Sometimes if you can’t start a conversation verbally, maybe through art we can have those hard conversations. And we’ve seen that that works and we’re continuing to push that message.”  

The group says they plan on using their skills and experience to not just promote art but also help those interested in creating it. 

They believe when people can’t find the words to say something, that art can step in and touch people and make a difference. 

“It can start conversations and I think that’s what’s important, to just get conversations started. ‘Cause I really believe that art, with the Black Lives Matter movement and with everything else, art was so important with that conversation because even people who didn’t agree, it made them think,” said 18 Art Collective Vice President Ashley Nora. 

The launch party Saturday will be a community event with a public art gallery to show off their work but also show off the resources the collective can provide. 

“We have digital artists, muralists, professors, instructors. We have so much to offer. And we can do so much ourselves, but as a collective and as a group we can reach more people,” Nora said. 

Something Craig agrees with by adding, “Growing up a lot of artists that look like me weren’t around. So to be able to have role models in the position of being a professional artist is extremely important.” 

Aside from the Black Lives Matter mural, some of the artists have other pieces on display throughout the city.  They plan on showing more at the event. 

The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Re:Public Art Gallery. They will announce upcoming projects and discuss the plans they have for the community. The gallery is located at 2301 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46278.

There will also be food trucks, a DJ, giveaways and a chance for the public to create their own artwork. 

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