Art Hounds: 'Blues for George' enables everyone to memorialize George Floyd

Plus, artist-activists Harry Waters Jr. and Maia Maiden create healing spaces in the wake of George Floyd's death

Stencil of George Floyd's face painted on a white wall in shades of blue
Artist-activist Seitu Jones has created a downloadable stencil kit that anyone can use to memorialize George Floyd. Art Hound Tina Tavera says she loves how Jones not only creates art, but welcomes others into the process.
Photo by Chris Larson, Second Shift Studio Space

Arsonists and looters wreaked havoc on Twin Cities businesses in the days following the killing of George Floyd. While the destruction was devastating, artist and cultural organizer Tina Tavera has loved watching artists turn boarded up windows into canvases for beautiful murals. She’s particularly impressed with long-time artist-activist Seitu Jones’ new project “#bluesforgeorge.” Jones has created a stencil template that anyone can download and scale to the size they want so that they can memorialize Floyd anywhere around the world. Tavera says loves how Jones not only creates art, but empowers others to take part in the process.

Choreographer Maia Maiden, aka Rah Fyah, knew her dancing friends needed to come together after Floyd was killed. So on Sunday she hosted an impromptu “Cypher of Movement.” Dancers of all backgrounds showed up to show joy and love for Floyd and his family; it was also a space for talking about white supremacy, police brutality, anti-blackness and privilege. Maiden says being joyful in the face of oppression is a form of resistance.

Macalester College professor and artist Harry Waters Jr. has been hosting a twice-weekly event called “Outside Voices” in Powderhorn Park. Waters says in this time of crisis there’s a need for people to release their emotions and be in community, but the pandemic has made doing so difficult. So on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m. people gather on the west side of the lake to tell jokes and laugh, run around, scream and fall to the ground. Waters says it’s cathartic at a time when people are feeling anxious and stifled.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.