COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer led to protests around the world, including in Columbus and central Ohio. Nearly three years after Floyd’s death, a new book showcases the ways Columbus-area artists used their skills during that summer of protests to call for change.
“Art Activism Action” started as an effort to memorialize murals created and displayed in Downtown Columbus during the 2020 protests, said editor of the book Donna Marbury. With the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, it blossomed into something much more.
Marbury credited social media with the proliferation of Columbus protest art — widespread national coverage brought people’s attention to artists who have long lived and worked here.
“It certainly wasn’t the first time that artists stood in the front of social injustice,” Marbury said. “It’s just the first time I think the whole city was able to see it on such a large scale.”
“Art Activism Action” is a collection of visual art, with QR codes throughout the book taking readers to visual and musical performances by artists. The book highlights the work of many local mural artists like Richard Duarte Brown.
“We have to make our own history and tell our own history,” Brown said.
Many of the artists worked for hours during the protests, creating murals as protesters marched across the city, at times clashing with police. In the weeks and months following the protests, the murals were displayed throughout Worthington, the King-Lincoln District and on the campuses of Ohio State and Denison universities.
NBC4’s Kerry Charles sat down with several artists featured in the book. Hear their insight and perspective on the 2020 protests — and the path forward — on the 7:30 p.m. digital special.