HUDSON -- As her and her family worked to install the colorful panels on Second Street on a warm December Day, bringing together months of work, Liz Malanaphy emphasized that this is really just the beginning.
The 30.1 Community Mural, named for its distance from the spot where George Floyd died in police custody, is intended to prompt ongoing discussions and work around diversity.
“It’s up as a reminder,” Malanaphy said. “It feels really good to get that reminder up and get the colors on the wall.”
The mural features panels created by seven main artists —Ron Brown, Stephanie Howell, Geno Okok, Sebastian Rivera, David Markson, Thomasina Topbear and Lissa Karpeh.
Among their pieces are faces painted by more than 300 community members.
“I want everybody who comes here and sees it to see themselves in it,” Malanaphy said. “We have all different faces, all different skin tones, different artists who came to the main panels, so I want it to be a presence in the community of different voices and different people and a celebration of our diversity.”
Work on the mural project first started back in July. The project was spearheaded by Malanaphy, with help and support from the community. Sustain Hudson, the Hudson Inclusion Alliance and the Frieses of Ciranda all helped fund the work. The Phipps Center for the Arts helped bring in artists for the main panels.
The role of a community art center is to engage the community with art, and one of the roles of art is to engage people in potentially difficult conversations, Visual Arts Director Anastasia Shartin said.
“The Phipps stand for diversity and inclusivity, and that’s really what makes the world a better place,” she said. “And how communities thrive is through that engagement and through encouraging conversation about things that may be hard to have.”
Seeing the engagement and energy around the project, and watching the panels be installed, was amazing for Shartin.
“In this community, this is the time,” she said. “We need to do some real soul-searching here and really have conversations with one another.”
The main message of the mural, its colors stretching along the main street, is that there is strength in diversity, Malanaphy said.
“We need everybody,” she said. “We need all ideas. We need all different kinds of people from different backgrounds. And that’s what makes us stronger.”
The Project 30.1 Mural is located on Second Street near the corner of Vine Street. The Phipps Galleries are also featuring other work by the seven panel artists, Malanaphy and project advisers Ta-coumba T. Aiken and Moira Villiard.