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Black Renaissance: Mural Unveiling At xBk Live

Since I could remember I've always had a fascination with art, but in particular, murals. Whenever I visit a new city, I always try to check out the murals painted throughout, especially ones that are located in the heart of the city. Murals to me, are the written stories hidden within the city walls. Murals can serve many different purposes and people. When they first came about, traditionally, they were used for bringing beauty to a public or private space. As time went on the purpose of murals changed from city to city. Over time people started noticing their significance and how they could act as a sounding board for many different things. Eventually, they became a medium for political/social commentary, memorials, and historical events.

This weekend I had the opportunity of attending a Mural Unveiling at xBk Live painted by Jill Wells a local artist and owner of Jill Wells art in Des Moines, Iowa. When I saw the flyer for this event, I knew that this was an event I would not want to miss. I got the opportunity to speak with some of the people involved in putting the show together and what I admired the most from this experience was the warmth and inclusion I felt the entire time I was there. The guests had the opportunity to enjoy live music and drinks while they network and admire the beautiful artwork. The space was filled with different people from all walks of life, but not once did it lose that warm homey feeling.

The idea behind the mural was to act as a depiction of the Black Renaissance and bring back to life the feeling that existed in the community during that time. It was also a depiction of equality amongst everyone, especially women of color stepping into the entrepreneurial world. Hearing the story on the inspiration behind the mural was very moving because it aligned with all the values I believe in and would love to see represented more as a community. The Harlem Renaissance was a very intellectual time in the black community. It was a time of cultural revival and unity. During this time black people in the community came together to bring to life things like music, dance, art, fashion, literature, etc. In my opinion, Jill Wells did an amazing job at putting together and delivering this work of art to the community.

I had the opportunity of speaking with the photographer Samm Yu (Samm Yu Photography) responsible for capturing the unveiling. Her energy was very inspiring,

and I especially loved how she made everyone feel comfortable as she captured the beauty of the moment. I met with the hairstylist Britney Price (Stylist/Owner of Priceless Beauty Studio) and her models Trinity Dewitt, Lucy Murugami, Keadra Foster, and I'Asia Wright. These ladies all did a great job at bringing the idea behind this mural to life. While networking and connecting, I met some wonderful people with great ideas for the community, like Richard Tate (local artist/cartoon animator) and Jassmaray Johnson (Owner/CEO of Simply Samone lip gloss brand).

Overall, this was a spectacular and welcoming event that I wish everyone could've had the opportunity of experiencing. Jill did a great job of bringing everyone together. In return, her guests held space for her and the mural making the experience very rewarding to witness. If you haven’t checked out the mural yet, I highly recommend you stop by. You won’t be disappointed. The mural is South of 24th St and University Avenue in Des Moines, IA. If you get the opportunity to pass by, please do. I can't wait to see what Jill and her team have next for the community.

"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations." -Mae Jemison

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