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  • Carol Swartout Klein

Murals from the 2014 Ferguson/South Grand Painting for Peace Movement Find a Permanent Home

It all started with an idea and a single paintbrush. The Painting for Peace movement spontaneously gathered momentum starting in late November 2014 when more than 500 people of all ages and races gathered along the boarded-up streets of Ferguson, Dellwood, and South Grand in St. Louis County and City. After the unrest during the previous days, people needed a way to process. Started by a few artists and community organizers, the plan to transform raw plywood into colorful, powerful works of art spread quickly on social media. On those cold winter days, some came ready with paint and paintbrushes in hand while others, who were unsure how to help soon partook in what became healing and cathartic, not only for themselves but for the entire St. Louis region. In the end, more than 300 murals depicting common themes of hope, change, equality, love, justice, and peace were created. Spray paint, house paint, acrylic markers, and stencils were used in styles ranging from graffiti-type street art to children’s art to large detailed murals. A new, permanent exhibit at Delmar DivINe that is free and open to the public will showcase more than 60 of these large works of art.


WHEN: September 22, 7 - 9 p.m. and September 23, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Artist's only reception is Sept. 22 from 5-7 p.m. (RSVP here)


WHERE: Delmar DivINe, 5501 Delmar Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63112 (entrance on Belt Ave., parking lots are available across from the office doors on Belt and behind the building on Enright).


WHAT: Gallery opening. View the large-scale murals depicting messages and images of hope, change, equality, love, justice, and peace from the Painting for Peace movement that took place in November 2014 in Ferguson and Dellwood in St. Louis County as well as along South Grand in St. Louis City. The powerful art is a true gift to the community. Artists will be on hand Friday evening. Saturday’s event is family-friendly. Both events are free and open to the public but an RSVP is requested through this Eventbrite link.


WHY: These dynamic murals show resilience during a time fraught with pain and uncertainty. “It’s part of our history,” said Klein. “Delmar DivINe’s mission is to be an ongoing catalyst for collaboration that leads to positive change. It’s the perfect fit for this art and a true full circle moment that shows what we can accomplish when we reach across the lines that divide us to make something beautiful.”


Chief Inspirator of Delmar DivINe, Maxine Clark added, “Each brushstroke tells a story of resilience, compassion, and the unwavering determination to stand up for one another. These events also inspired the creation of the Delmar DivINe. Carol’s tireless efforts have brought these artworks to their rightful home at the Delmar DivINe. We will forever be grateful. This 100-plus-year-old building has walls large enough and strong enough to properly host and honor this collection.”


WHO: Open to the public. Carol Swartout Klein in conjunction with Delmar DivINe. Klein, who grew up in Ferguson, wrote what would become an award-winning children’s book, Painting for Peace in Ferguson, and was able to preserve many of the boards when they came down. Saint Louis University also collected many along South Grand and has donated several dozen to this exhibit.


If you cannot attend either of these dates, please contact Delmar Divine to set up a tour at art@delmardivine.com.


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