Art festival commemorates death of George Floyd

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Ivy Raya

Artist: Twest One of the pieces of artwork displayed at the art festival.

Since the death of George Floyd, people are using their freedom of speech to talk about prevalent topics through music and art. From October 1st to October 3rd, there was an art festival on Payne Avenue commemorating George Floyd’s death and speaking on other racial injustices. This event was started by an organization called Solidarity Street Gallery. Their website contains other events scheduled, different exhibits, and a place to buy the art. The artists and their pieces are featured on the website. The artists are all local and based out of the Twin Cities or the east side. The art features topics, including race and gender. Since the start of COVID-19, the organization has found a method to display its art still. The festival consists of 24 different sites in which pieces from other artists are found. The sites are all along Payne Avenue and can be located in the front window of shops or just outside the building. Over 65 works of art were submitted but all could not be chosen for the display.

Art can be deemed political.”

— Stephan Kistler

When I first started looking for the art display, it was hard to find though I eventually spotted it where artists were putting up various pieces in the window. I jumped at the chance to take a look inside. There I met Stephan Kistler. He was one of the lead organizers of the event with the help of his board. He also came up with the method to display the works while in COVID-19. His objective was to reboot Payne Avenue, and through art, he reached the community. Kistler states, “Art can be deemed political.” The art in this show mostly consists of people of color speaking out about injustices in society. Whether this is political or not can be deemed by the audiences. While walking around, I noticed the differences between every piece and the story each one had to tell. One art piece was a spray-painted slab of George Floyd with the words “rest in peace” and “George Floyd” on either side of his head. Though the art mostly consisted of different renditions of his face, there were also many other pieces relating to various topics. There were pieces about race. Some titles were “White Savior Complex,” “Liberation,” and “Very White-Very Fragile” each piece told stories of the artists who created them.

. Each site is entirely different and full of vibrant, influential art. The sites are all within walking distance. The idea was to create a space where people can view art without having to be clustered together.”

There is a sheet with a description of the artist and a QR code placed near the art at each site. The QR code allows the viewer to scan and see the art on their phone. Once scanned, the code tells you where you can find the piece. Each site is entirely different and full of vibrant, influential art. The sites are all within walking distance. The idea was to create a space where people can view art without having to be clustered together. The festival is only three days Kistler assures me that the art will be around from anywhere from one to two more weeks. The gallery’s times are 5-9 pm on Thursday and Friday, while on Saturday, the festival starts at one and lasts until ten at night.