If you visit the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Maryland this year, you will be greeted by two large-scale murals. The first depicts women’s suffrage pioneer Mary Church Terrell over a collage of the Maryland and United States flags. Portraits of Thomas Munday Peterson, Shirley Chisholm, Frederick Douglass, and Mary McLeod Bethune adorn the opposite wall. Travel further into the museum’s gallery space known as “the Church”, and you will see sixteen other murals that explore African American identity and civil rights. These murals are all a part of the Black Votes Mural Project.
The Black Votes Mural Project is an initiative that partnered with artists in the Maryland region to interpret the Association for the Study of African American Life and History 2020 theme: African Americans and the Vote. Artists were given freedom to interpret the theme how they saw fit in their work. The murals were then installed in the Banneker-Douglass, Maryland’s state museum of African American heritage, with the hope that the art will inspire visitors to vote in upcoming elections.
Executive director of the Banneker-Douglass Chanel Compton said, “It seemed like a fitting and timely theme. We decided murals because we wanted diverse voices and a creative interpretation for the annual theme. Public art has such a great history with social activism and community empowerment, so we integrated public art and the theme.”
Visitors can view the Black Votes Mural Project through 2020.