#ArtUnitesCbus – Public Art

Art Unites Cbus GCAC webpage

#ArtUnitesCbus, a Black Lives Matter public art initiative


Art | Activism | Action

Created by the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) and produced by the creative team at Warhol & WALL ST., a new book titled Art | Activism | Action is now available. The hard cover, 225-page book documents murals created during the 2020 protests in Columbus and features writings by Black creatives on the continuing fight for social justice.

The book is intended to serve as a time capsule and interactive experience that showcases the pain and struggle of the events of summer 2020, but also the beauty of the art, all while telling Columbus’ story and continuing the conversation and pushing for action in our city.

For more information and locations where you can purchase your copy for $60 visit Art | Activism | Action page. Proceeds from book sales benefit GCAC’s new Mural Assistance Program, specifically to support projects involving artists of color. Online sales coming in mid-December.

On June 1, 2020, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police and the resulting protests, CAPA and the Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) partnered to launch #ArtUnitesCbus, an initiative to employ Columbus-based visual artists to paint murals on the plywood installed over the broken windows at the Ohio Theatre and the Arts Council office. Other businesses throughout the city joined in and by the end of June more than 200 murals had been created on plywood throughout the city.

The murals messages ranged from support for Black Lives Matter to tributes to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, to messages of love and hope. The public quickly advocated for preserving the murals and giving them a life after they were removed from store front windows.

CAPA created a website honoring and cataloging the artists and the work with a map of the original locations. Visit ArtUnitesCbus.com to explore all the work.

The Arts Council committed to preserving and exhibiting the murals and encouraging dialogue about the Black Lives Matter movement as our city, and our country, work toward racial equity.

The first round of Art Unites Cbus temporary mural installations appeared in nine sites across the city: Coleman’s Point, Easton Towne Center, Huntington Bank (downtown across from the statehouse), King Arts Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Maroon Arts Group Box Park, McConnell Arts Center, Ohio History Connection and the Short North. Eight of these sites were up through mid-March, 2021.

See photos of the 2019-2020 temporary mural installations with artists names on our Mural Blog.

The final exhibitions of the Art Unites Cbus raan late fall 2021 to early 2022. To see the artists featured in the 2021 exhibitions see our ArtUnitesCbus Artist Listing.

The #ArtUnitesCbus Film & Photography Awards

In fall of 2020 the Arts Council created an opportunity for Black photographers and filmmakers to receive cash awards for documenting and exploring the story of the Black Lives Matter movement in Columbus.

Three filmmakers and nine photographers received awards. Filmmakers: Carter Sterling, Cristyn Steward and Donte Woods-Spikes. Photographers: Kendel Boone, Jamie Caesar, Teri Dashfield, Asia Glenn, Rashunda Holloway, John Landry, Ngabo Mutenda, Brittoney Roane and Benjamin Willis.

The three films were screened in early 2021 while Columbus hosted the virtual Sundance Film Festival, and were available for several weeks afterward through the Wexner Center for the Arts. For more information please visit the press release about the awards.

The #ArtMakesCbus Film & Photography Award exhibition was presented in in the The Loann Crane Gallery at GCAC Gallery earlier this year. You can view the artists work at GCACGallery.org.

The public reaction to the artwork created from #ArtUnitesCbus sparked a deeper discussion about art, activism and the support necessary to create real and lasting change and these exhibitions have become components of public art and visual expression for a new aspirational racial equity campaign, Deliver Black Dreams.


Deliver Black Dreams emerged, initlally as a Get Out the Vote campaign led by Marshall Shorts, designer, principal at Artfluential and co-creator of Creative Control Fest. Deliver Black Dreams has evolved into a larger community-wide campaign OF, BY and FOR Black people. It is a campaign that seeks long-term change in the culture and across multiple sectors including health, education, culture, safety and more..

“Deliver Black Dreams is about creating a city for ALL of US, where ALL can live abundantly,” said Shorts. “Deliver Black Dreams is more than a campaign. It is a commitment. It is about connecting cultural products such as public art to tangible systemic change that reimagines a world where all of us can thrive. Deliver Black Dreams is centered in a Black voice and affirms that Black Lives Matter AND if they do then we must make a commitment to Deliver Black Dreams.”

Deliver Black Dreams, a partnership between Maroon Arts Group, the city of Columbus and the Arts Council, uses public art as a launch point for a sustained and future-oriented approach to achieving racial equity in Columbus.

The first of six large public murals was painted in early November 2020 on Fifth Avenue, just west of Cleveland Avenue. The Deliver Black Dreams mural was designed and painted by Lisa McLymont with the assistance of five artists: Marcus William Billingsley, Hakim Callwood, Shelbi Harris-Roseboro, Francesca Miller and April Sunami. Click on the image above for artist names and location details.

In July 2021 the second Deliver Black Dreams mural titled Write It. Paint It. Do It. was painted on Wilson Rd. just south of Fisher. Artists were Marcus William Billingsley and Shelbi Harris-Roseboro.

In September 2021 the third mural was completed on Frebis just east of Alum Creek. This mural, Dare to Dream, Dare to Win was designed by Marshall Shorts.

This Art Unites Cbus and Deliver Black Dreams efforts are made possible by the generous support of:

Asset 4@2x

Additional support is provided by Grange Insurance and PNC.

We have asked each of the sponsors for Deliver Black Dreams to supply their racial equity statement. Please click on their name below to read their statement.
American Electric Power
City of Columbus
Ohio State Energy Partners/The Ohio State University
Cardinal Health
Grange Insurance

Below is some selected media coverage of #ArtUnitesCbus and Deliver Black Dreams:

Artists use their talents to cover graffiti on side of Greater Columbus Arts Council building, WSYX, June 1, 2020

 CAPA and Greater Columbus Arts Council Partner to Launch #ArtUnitesCbus, BroadwayWorld, June 1, 2020

 Message of Hope, CBS Morning News, June 2, 2020

 GCAC, CAPA Team up on Community Healing Project, WCBE, June 2, 2020

Finding Beauty From Despair: Columbus Unites Through the Arts, Spectrum News 1, June 3, 2020

 Artists use creativity so Downtown businesses can show support for protestersColumbus Dispatch, June 4, 2020

 Art Brings Columbus Together After Downtown ProtestsThe Lantern, June 4, 2020

 Columbus Artists Paint Plywood Murals Amid Downtown Protests, WOSU, June 5, 2020

Deliver Black Dreams:
Black artists lead Public art campaign to advocate for racial justice through muralsColumbus Dispatch, Nov. 11, 2020

Photos: Deliver Black Dreams murals inspire artists and communityColumbus Dispatch, Nov. 11, 2020

Paint the City614 Magazine, Jan. 2021

Replacing the Columbus Statue: Deliver Black Dreams’ Call to ActionColumbus Monthly, Jan. 2021

Art For Change: Public Art Grows as a Means of Activism Against Police Brutality and Racial Injustice, The Lantern, Jan. 21, 2021

The Arts Council remains committed to continuing this effort, expanding its reach and marking the milestones in our community’s fight for equity and social justice. We are listening. Please email us at artunitescbus@gcac.org with ideas for future public art supporting the Black Lives Matter and Deliver Black Dreams movements.

“#ArtUnitesCbus is just one small way the arts community is trying to help. These murals are not the answer, simply a message that we ALL can, and must, help heal our community,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of the Arts Council.

Funds are still needed for these efforts. If you would like to help support this effort please visit our Make a Gift page and select “ArtUnitesCbus” to make your donation. If you have questions about this project please contact Jami Goldstein at jgoldstein@gcac.org.

*The Arts Council has made a significant effort to identify the artists who created these boards, however some remain unknown. If you are an artist, or are aware of an artist who is not credited in this document, please email us at artunitescbus@gcac.org with the name of the artist, site their work is exhibited at and any contact information you have.