Photojournalist Nicholas Hansen documented the community participation in Tia Richardson’s “Sherman Park Rising” mural project over multiple days, from July 19 to 23, that took place on a brick wall adjacent to the corner of 48th and Center Streets.
Tia Richardson has used collaborative murals as a tool to build empathy and connection among the groups. Her holistic approach combines a variety of methods for sharing stories that foster trust and collaboration. The purpose of the 17’ x 56′ mural was to acknowledge the ongoing efforts by area residents to improve the Sherman Park neighborhood, which began many years prior to the August 13, 2016 unrest.
These images recorded the mural creation process, along with noted observations by Hansen from the perspective of his involvement around the project.
“I was invited to attend the unveiling of the sketch for Tia Richardson’s ‘Sherman Park Rising’ mural at Bethel-Bethany United Church. The Sherman Park community was eager to see their countless hours of conversation and planning finally transform into a visual manifestation. The energy in the church was contagious, and I quickly found myself in a spirit of connectedness as I reflected on the events of August 13, 2016. As an arts educator, I knew the transformative power of art and understood how the mural would offer a path of healing for the community. The sketch that Richardson presented reached out to viewers and brought them into a relationship.”
“Richardson had explained her vision of ‘Sherman Park Rising,’ and repeatedly explained that her mission for the work ‘was bigger than a mural.’ Richardson believed her purpose was to shine her light upon a blighted wall, and that the community would do the rest. As the mural took shape, I could see how it offered a magical sense of hope, and reflected the heart, soul, and spirit of Richardson in the amount of detail she depicted in the artwork. A positive energy began to illuminate from the painted wall. All the complexities of the mural took shape at its focal point, where a baby reached for a butterfly which traditionally holds the spiritual significance of transformation.”