George Floyd

Oakland Group Working to Preserve Art Inspired by George Floyd

NBC Universal, Inc.

In the year since George Floyd's killing downtown Oakland has become a canvas for artists to express themselves.

Some of the protest art is still up, while other pieces have been taken down. Meanwhile, there is an effort underway to preserve the art.

"Art has been part of every revolution and we really felt that this was no different," said Randolph Belle, a member of Oakland's Black Cultural Zone.

Belle said he was amazed by the volume and quality of the protest art spontaneously created in downtown Oakland. It is artwork he said that captures a painful slice of history -- a message and moment worth saving.

"We really took it upon ourselves to collect the art, document it and photograph it," Belle said.

Many of the pieces are now temporarily being stored at a location inside the Eastmont Mall. One of the largest pieces is a mural created at Broadway and 20th Street. The mural has been relocated to Liberation Park in East Oakland.

Joshua Mays collaborated with another muralist to create the piece. Mays said he is proud at how the creative community seized the moment to communicate through colors, textures and images.

"Becoming more understood of who we are and what we are, I am grateful for," Mays said.

Artists hope by finding new homes for the creations they can continue the conversation of race and equity.

"It was almost a moment skin being revealed to see the flesh and bone underneath and once it heals up there's still flesh and bone underneath," Mays said. "There's still the issue that's the undercurrent of all this conversation."

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