One enduring element of social movements is street art. Stories are told, lives are honoured, and activism promoted through murals and graffiti. In recent months (and years), anti-racist protesters have produced a large swath of street art on walls and footpaths, and you can now visit many of those spots virtually.
The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota is building a digital database to archive and preserve street art created in response to American police violence and in support of the ongoing social justice movement. The project, called Urban Art Mapping: George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art, documents graffiti and murals — many of which may be temporary — from all over the United States.
You can browse submissions or filter by collection (George Floyd tributes or political statements, for example). You can also browse on the map to find art in a specific city. If you have art to add to the database, you can fill out a submission form and include an image as well as information about the location and artist.
Once you select an image, you’ll get tons of additional information, including the creator’s name or handle, the creation date, the location and details about the medium, format, or process used.
The university has also begun compiling street art related to the pandemic. Urban Art Mapping: Covid-19 Street Art provides a hyperlocal look at the experience of and response to the virus. It includes images of graffiti, murals, and other installations about front-line workers, political responses, messages of hope and healing, and more.