Making it look like we live here
It started out as an intentional public art installation that hired Black and Brown artists to create murals on Black and Brown owned businesses in our neighborhood. We’ve spoken to hundreds of community members in the course of 2 years, from our community listening sessions to knockin’ on doors for canvassing, to our activation events at every single location. All 15 artists – all black & brown & full of talent- involved were tasked with the hard part of repreesenting those voices! They knocked each challenge out of the park, coming up with magic that represented different stories of reclamation & liberation.
All 15 business owners represent the vibrancy, resiliency, and perserverance of the South Side of Grand Rapids, and many were black and brown folks who have lived here for most of their lives.
Whether the folks involved in The 49507 Project were born here or not, they all understood that we were doing something we have all wanted to do while living in Grand Rapids: make it look like we live here, even as the community is simultaneously being under invested and systemically oppressed.
Collaboration + Community on 10!
Nika Marie Price and Marcel Price collaborated together to create something that’s never been done before in Grand Rapids, steeped in collaboration, community, and reclamation! Bringing her digital prowess and community organizing power to the forefront, Nika had the radical idea that we could put the murals into better context if someone seeing the work we’re doing to reclaim in real time was also able to see the comments that led to redlining in the same area. The experience outlines what we know is true about oppresion, especially redlining on the South Side of Grand Rapids in the 49507 area- it was designed; and it can be undesigned.
CARNEVALE came in to put the idea to life & online, and keep the story going as The 49507 Project continues to grow! The digital story told with the placards at every single location is one that unpacks the history of redlining in the area. You can see it for yourself using the link below, or by heading to the murals & scanning the QR codes in person.