On George Floyd Discussions

Oct 26 Meeting Notes/  Herman’s Input / Owen’s Artist Statement

Oct 26. 2021  dialogue notes.  Attending:  Deacon, Beverly, Owen, Dominique, Barbara, Ashley, Layl

Blood on the Pavement project. 

Beverly: means a lot that a white man would paint this.

Modern Day Lynching

Racism is not the blacks’ problem.

HR 55 still on the books

This painting offends some people because they have to deal with their heart.

African American Museum connection Tina Bernstein

Strange Fruit – Ashley has a poem written about this song

This was a Mob : because there were 3 other police officers there.

Barbara– sun glasses- symbolizing power of police. Carelessness.

Dominque – art isn’t supposed to make you feel comfortable.


Disturbing to see the rest of the painting. George is rendered in less detail than police officer.

George is down in the corner. He is diminished like the officer saw him.

Chaos of observing the act.

Ashley we all look at art through our Own lens

Sees the abstract as the crowd.

Sees a figure

Abstract captures the retraumatizing nature of the way we are shown these images over and over.

Barbara– doesn’t see it as cultural appropriation. Owen is sharing his experience with this event.  Still need to be respect of others cultures etc.

Acw needs a statement to give to public about the piece when people bring up cultural appropriation.

Ashley– this was an experience impacted by the whole community. Think about intent.

Example- writing about mental health.

Are you being honest or fair?

Beverly– this is art that can change the world.

Barbara – Winning  the hearts and minds

What about bad PR- need a plan for using this image.  Push this image out as much as possible.

Ashley- Poetry will be given to 7-10 artists.

Owen– talked about scroll project that was shown at synagogue .  He could connect with several.

Dominique– don’t shy away and don’t censor.

Owen – leave it to Ashley to figure out how to use this image.

Talk of community conversations.

Public interaction- small zine or exquisite corpse

Owen suggested “Submittal”

Beverly- connect with Roho collective

She can do a dance to Strange Fruit

Layl- plan how the image gets used in PR and social media.



venue maybe multiple

Owen– two galleries-  Grand Hand. Other gallery? (Missed name).

Also Consider Free Little Gallery

Barbara- Kerry Morgan connection MCAD

Owen- Pushbacks- at Grand Hand- wrote a statement about why he painted it.

Hasn’t had opening nights.

Hasn’t heard much.

Barbara   We have a process. Ashley is the spokesperson on this. Her decision about how to roll it out.  We need to have each other’s backs.

From Herman Millegan




Blood on the Pavement”: An Open Call For Artists

Poet, artist and Coaching Project for a Better World Project Manager,  Ashley Richardson, believes all art has immediate social, political, and cultural power. She also believes in using this power to spark conversation and catalyze change. With help from team members, and funding through ACW’s Coaching Project for a Better World, Richardson will create an art exhibit for the greater Twin Cities area tentatively titled, “Blood on The Pavement.”

The exhibit, scheduled to open May 2022, is seeking artists to collaborate with and feature.

Those interested in exhibiting with “Blood on the Pavement,” or learning more about this project, can email richardson.exhibits@gmail.com.

“Blood on The Pavement” will focus on addressing violence against black bodies, both verbally and physically, from micro aggressions to police brutality. However, in its early stages, there is still room to be surprised. A believer that art should never end where it began, Richardson is open to exploring other meanings behind the phrase “blood on the pavement,” with a particular interest in violence against women’s bodies and marginalized communities. Through collaboration with her ACW team and potential exhibiting artists, Richardson hopes to see this project unfold in unexpected new ways.

For this project, Richardson will write a series of 5 to 10 poems exploring the social injustices mentioned above, and asks that artists use these poems as a jumping off point for their artwork. Please note there is no “correct” interpretation of the poems. Richardson is solely interested that artists create pieces (as they see fit) to express the feelings and thoughts inspired by her words. Artists will receive small stipends to help cover and/or offset the costs of materials, with a possibility for additional payments depending on budgets. Richardson is seeking artists from a range of mediums, i.e. sculpture, painting, mixed media, collage, printmaking, sound, and more.

If you would like to learn more about this project, or have leads on potential venues, please email richardson.exhibits@gmail.com. Artists interested in exhibiting with “Blood on the Pavement” should send 3 to 4 sample pieces, along with a brief (4 to 5 sentences) statement of interest by November 1, 2021.


Articles and Documents to Help Frame Discussion and Project

  1. Social / Justice / Practice: Exploring the Role of Artists in Creating a More Just and Social Public. Article about work of Lori Lobenstine.

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False, roving intervention created by         Steve Lambert, 2012

Source: http://animatingdemocracy.org/resource/social-justice-practice-exploring-role-artists-creating-more-just-and-social-public

Key Take-Aways for Consideration:

  1. What new and creative ways of thinking/execution can artists for this particular project bring to the table to maximize impact relative to the identified issues to be addressed?
  2. Will there be a public interaction/engagement component of the project to allow the public to gain a more informed experience related to the project theme?
  3. Question Bridge: Black Males in America

            Question Bridge: Black Males was originally created by Chris Johnson in 1996, the project was revived by Hank Willis Thomas, Kamal Sinclair, and Bayeté Ross Smith in 2006-2007 and they filmed over 150 black men in nine American cities in about. I gave them consulting advice on this project in 2006. This content was used to create a five-screen video installation that has been exhibited at over thirty-five institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum; Oakland Museum of California;             Birmingham Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; California African American Museum, Los Angeles; DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago; Exploratorium, San Francisco; Missouri History Museum, St. Louis; Harvey B. Gantt Center for         African-American Arts+Culture, Charlotte, NC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New          York; New Frontier exhibition at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah;         and JXTA Arts around 2015-2016. The Question Bridge Project includes          various platforms, an interactive website and mobile app, as well as community roundtable conversations and a curriculum designed for high             school learners.

Key Take-Aways for Consideration

  1. Ashley’s project in a sense is “interrogating” the artist to create work in response to a set of poems she will write concerning contemporary societal issues, specifically as it relates to police violence, etc. It might be of interest to record the artists perceptions of what this meant to them and the process they used to create the work(s) based on these poems.
  2. It might be of interest to record the reactions of visitors to these works and to see how the work impacts their perceptions relative to the exhibition theme.

    From Owen Brown

    On George Floyd

    Dear viewer.  I am white, I am a man, I am 65, I am outraged.   Better late than never?  Better never, but these days, these last four years, all these years of my adult life, as our social fabric disentangled, and we left more and more behind, as one of seven children is hungry weekly in these United States, as 65 are dead by another’s  hand in Minneapolis already this year, what’s to like?   If everyone is better together, why are so many of us getting worse, and what can those of us born lucky, say or do in the face of it?

    We shouldn’t think that art can fix much.  And in the end, there are plenty of ways to end:

    All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o’erthrow,
    All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
    Despair, law, chance, hath slain…

    Yet for some chance is big, choice small, dwindles to nothing. Nothing is fair.  Floyd’s end as unfair as water is wet.  Simple as that.

    But shouldn’t painters be celebrating life and possibilities?  Of course, there are plenty of reasons NOT to paint George Floyd.

    1. Why rock the boat. Go paint a kitten.
    2. I’m not Black. How dare I appropriate?
    3. The immensity of it all is such that one never succeeds.
    4. So forth and so on.


    I concede them all.  I painted this painting with fear and anguish, just as I have painted others to display horrors man inflicts on man.  We must bear witness.  How can we fix anything if we overlook what’s wrong?  We forget, we turn away, it’s uncomfortable!  So be uncomfortable for a while  – look at George Floyd.


    And at the glories and the cruelties of the world.  The beauty of laughter.  The horror of crime, hatred, apathy.  This last, the worst; the worst is dullness, indifference. I paint to wake up from it.  So here’s the most wicked death of George Floyd. From that, if we pay attention, if we learn, if we act, a better life would beckon.