Public Art Mural With a Message

By Gary Means, CAPP

Parking garages are a perfect location for public art.

Not long after the murder of George Floyd, one of our Lexington Parking Authority board members asked if we would consider commissioning an art mural supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. After a short discussion, pursuing a mural with this concept was unanimously approved. Two months later in mid-September 2020, a very colorful 15 foot x 15-foot mural was completed on our Victorian Square Parking Garage with a beautiful message. (see picture)

Now, I must be honest, there were concerns among our board members and staff: is this too controversial, will the police feel unsupported by our organization, will the mural be defaced with graffiti? I’m happy to report that after more than 13 months, there has been no graffiti to clean off and more importantly, a large portion of our community felt very supported and hundreds of social media comments of appreciation reflect the positive impressions, including:

  • “It’s beautiful and powerful!”,
  • “Can’t wait to come back to Lex and see it in person”
  • “I love this in my city! Beautiful! We must not give up until we have justice and equality for all!”

Parking garages are a great place for public art and community support. Read what the artist herself has to say:

“The Lexington Parking Authority were fantastic hosts for my work. The PA is in a unique position in that they have so many huge “canvases” (aka parking garages) in highly visible areas downtown, and I’m glad they used their influence in the city and one of their spaces to foster this important artistic conversation about BLM. Having a public building as a canvas broadens the influence of the work. The artwork is large, towering, and bold in that context. At that size you’re capturing the attention of more people and therefore sparking more conversation.” 

-Ciara

Gary Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington, Ky., Parking Authority and chair-elect of IPMI’s Board of Directors. He will moderate a panel discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion, focusing on careers in parking and mobility, during an online IPMI Shoptalk next Wednesday, Nov. 3; it’s free for everyone.