HUDSON -- On a brick wall off Second Street, 30.1 miles from the spot where George Floyd died, a community mural will mark his death and the movement it helped ignite.
The mural project, organizer Liz Malanaphy said, reflects that Hudson feels like a world away from where these things happened in Minneapolis, it is still a part of a larger community that has work to do to address racism in the world.
“Our community, it doesn’t just end at the city limits, it goes beyond the city limits and it extends into our state and it extends into our country and it extends into our world,” she said.
The 30.1-foot mural will consist of several pieces completed by commissioned artists. The Phipps Center for the Arts will put out the call for artists.
Malanaphy said she is looking for BIPOC -- Black, Indigenous, people of color -- artists for the commissioned pieces.
The theme is based in nature, specifically surrounding the elements and will highlight the diversity of nature as well as the diversity of humanity. What it will actually look like though is open to the commissioned artists.
“We welcome the vision of the artists,” Malanaphy said.
Malanaphy was inspired to develop the project following Floyd’s death in police custody.
“I think everybody deals with things, or tries to figure out how they can be part of the solution, in a way that they know how to do, and so for me, I think art is very powerful,” she said. “I know a lot of other people think that too, and I wanted to try to convey through art just a really simple belief that diversity is strength.”
She reached out to a few people when the mural idea was first developing, and immediately heard back from Hans and Joan Friese offering a wall for the project.
“It quickly took on a life of its own,” Malanaphy said. “And people just wanted to know what they can do to help.”
Malanphy said this feels like a unique moment in time.
“It’s really a shame that it took this long, but I think a lot of people, this particular moment in time, a lot of people have woken up to the things that need to be done,” she said.
Malanaphy wants the mural to be a visual reminder of Floyd and the ongoing movement.
“It will be something that hopefully for many people, when they see it, it will remind all of us that there’s a lot of work to be done in the world,” she said.
The process has already prompted important conversations, and she thinks the mural can serve as the impetus for more.
“Sometimes when you don’t see racism on a daily basis, you do forget how prevailing it is,” Malanaphy said.
There is humility in creating the project, Malanahpy said, as she works through her own uncertainty and potential missteps.
“We’re asking for help on how to do this so it’s the most meaningful, authentic sort of way to honor people and humanity that it can be,” she said.
The project will go beyond the mural, Malanaphy said. She hopes it will prompt programming, such as speakers or educational resources, in the area.
“This will be the jumping-off point,” she said. “The mural is just the beginning.”
The project has received funding from Sustain Hudson, the Frieses, as well as others, and the Hudson Inclusion Alliance has started a GoFundMe page called Project 30.1 All money raised will go to the commissioned artists. Donations can be made on the GoFundMe page, or to The Phipps, who will help distribute the funding to the artists.
Information on the continuing project is available at the project30.1 Instagram page, as well as through the Hudson Inclusion Alliance Facebook page. Malanaphy is also available for questions and input at firstname.lastname@example.org.