Vandals remove Black Lives Matter artwork from Central Park solidarity space
Community comes together to replace missing artwork
On April 20, activists Note as the art exhibition in Central Park Solidarity space had been revoked just before the announcement of the guilty verdict in Derek chauvin trial. Since then, community members have come together to replace the missing pieces.
The Solidarity Space was founded last summer by UC Davis Outcomes Advisor Sule Anibaba and community organizer and artist Kate Mellon-Anibaba after the death of George Floyd. After seeing how her husband Anibaba was deeply affected by Floyd’s death, Mellon-Anibaba decided to “take up space in Central Park”.
âI did some portraits of people who had been murdered by the police recently and I brought candles and flowers and asked people to come and hold this vigil for George Floyd,â Mellon-Anibaba said. “I thought maybe a few people would show up, but it turned into a huge thing.”
Mellon-Anibaba described how the Solidarity Space has changed and grown as more and more people have started to visit it.
âIt has become a meeting place; it has become a space for learning about social justice, âMellon-Anibaba said. âOther amazing people in the community have taken this space and organized radical educational forums and brought more art to the space. You could see white families having difficult conversations with their children because they had to, because it was in their face.
According to Mellon-Anibaba, Espace Solidaire has also received a grant from the city and has been “reactivated” in recent weeks as the weather becomes more conducive to the dissemination of public art. Some have speculated that the parts were removed to protect them from the elements, but Mellon-Anibaba said that was not true.
âNothing was returned,â Mellon-Anibaba said. âWe haven’t lost the timing. The space has been completely erased. Things were cut in the back panel – there were wires holding it down, zipper ties – so obviously it was a job of several people in the middle of the night so no one could see it, and they have it all. taken. They wanted to make a statement, I think.
Mellon-Anibaba had archived some pieces in her home during the winter when the weather was not right, but was slowly putting everything back in place with the return of spring.
âAs things got better outside and the anti-Asian hate vigil unfolded, more and more people started bringing in more art,â Mellon-Anibaba said. âIt started to fill up, and the art was presented the same way it did last summer. It was like another summer of freedom, another chance for people to come together and talk about the next steps. Then just before the trial results, everything was erased.
Despite this setback, it is clear that Espace Solidaire is here to stay, having secured both a non-profit tax sponsor (Davis International House) and provide funds from the City of Davis.
International House Davis Executive Director Shelly Gilbride further explained that the role of a nonprofit tax sponsor is to manage the funds awarded to the initiative.
âIn order to maintain the space, International House started talking about what needed to happen administratively,â Gilbride said. âWe are the nonprofit fiscal sponsor of the space – a fiscal sponsor is an administrative entity that has fiduciary responsibility for the initiative. We take care of the accounting practices and we hold the Espace Solidaire bank account so that it can benefit from the administrative support of an existing non-profit organization.
Gilbride explained why the long-term existence of the Solidarity Space is important to the community.
âAfter the start of the space, the organizers of the space began to think about how it can be sustainable for the future and recognized that it is not just a one-off need that the Solidarity Space satisfied, but an ongoing need to support people who may not always feel a sense of belonging to the community, âsaid Gilbride.
Written by: Rachel Shey – firstname.lastname@example.org