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Money Needed To Refurbish Cincinnati's BLM Mural

black lives matter mural cincinnati
Jason Whitman
Over time, the BLM mural has become faded and now money is needed to repaint it and install an overlay.

The Black Lives Matter mural in front of Cincinnati City Hall isn't looking as good as it once did, says Council Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, and $13,000 is needed to fix it up, including an overlay to protect it.

Private donations were used last summer to pay for the BLM mural painted on Plum Street between Eighth and Ninth streets by Black Art Speaks, ArtsWave and ArtWorks.

Initially there was talk about turning the area into a closed-off pedestrian plaza. That didn't happen, and traffic has weathered the design, according to Kearney.

She is seeking the money, of which 70% will go to arts and attorneys, to refurbish the mural. As far as the overlay, "Apparently there's some type of material that can be put over it so it doesn't have to be repainted every year so that it's longer lasting," she says.

During Monday's Budget and Finance Committee meeting, Chair David Mann said he was surprised at how good it still looked after a year.

Council Member Betsy Sundermann raised concerns about where the mural is and if it can be moved to the side of a private building. "I'm really worried about putting a public forum type political message in front of City Hall," she says. "I'm really worried that other groups will come and everyone will want a message around City Hall." 

But Kearney says it was the Urban League that paid for the mural and it can't be moved. "So at this point, the funding is for the upkeep to pay artists. As I said, 70% goes to artists."

Sundermann was the only committee member voting no to send it to the full council saying, "I'd rather use the money to increase the quality of life for Black citizens rather than just paint something with a message."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.