Protest Murals and Community Formation in Madison, WI: An Atlas of Art and Ideology on State Street
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How does a community express their grievances and issues within our current society? Cities throughout the world have always been the epicenters of human interaction. The United Nations predicts by 2050, more than 65% of the world’s population (two out of every three people) will live in an urban area. Due to the high traffic and congestion of cities, the exchange of ideas and practices amongst individuals is extremely common and some of the most influential institutions in modern society are based in these areas. This exchange of thought will generate unavoidable controversy and protest, which are not foreign concepts in cities especially when it comes to political or societal disagreement. Protest is one of the many ways that individuals can come together to enact change within their communities and this practice has been utilized for centuries. The 21st century has shown to be an extremely eccentric time in human history and protests have been common in 2020 throughout the United States. In our attempt to dive into the significance of State Street and its importance to the Madison community, we have decided the best way to analyze this would be to use two different approaches. The first being to walk State Street ourselves and obtain firsthand experience with the murals that have been created on State Street in the aftermath of the protests for George Floyd and the entire Black Lives Matter movement. We plan to document, photograph, and map out every mural that we can find and any murals that exist on side streets. Secondly, we plan to interview artists of the murals to get an understanding of what the murals meant for them and to figure out the purpose and intention that was behind their creation of the murals. In addition to finding out what the artists' intentions were, we also want to know what the artists wanted the public to take away from the murals. We specifically want to understand how the Madison community has reacted to the murals, how their perceptions of State Street changed, and explore the individual experience of State Street since the protests.