Asheville artist Joseph Pearson left his mark on Blue Ridge Public Radio over the weekend. He chose to highlight George Floyd in a mural covering up the station’s boarded up windows.
Like many businesses along Broadway and Lexington Avenue in downtown, BPR boarded up its street facing windows on Tuesday before a citywide curfew went into effect. And like many others in that corridor, the station sought a local artist to paint a mural on those boards. Pearson moved to Asheville from New Orleans five years ago. One of his most prominent public installations can be found inside the restaurant Benne On Eagle -- it’s a black and white mural of the Block, Asheville’s historically black neighborhood.
Pearson's mural contains a portrait of George Floyd from a photo that hasn’t been widely circulated. Pearson says he chose to paint Floyd wearing a navy blue sportcoat because he wanted to portray him as his mother would have wanted. "We watched him die," Pearson told BPR's Cass Herrington. "We prefer to have an image of him from a point of dignity, with support." On another plywood panel, Pearson painted a crowd of protestors gathered in front of Asheville City Hall.
The mural will stay up on BPR's entrance on Broadway for at least the rest of this week. It will be donated once it comes down.