Artists on Sunday completed a mural that spells out 'Black Lives Matter' in Pack Square around the now shrouded Vance Monument, which sits near where historians believe enslaved people were sold prior to the Civil War.
Asheville city council OK'd the mural at its last meeting, and it's completion was coordinated by the Asheville Area Arts Council. Three artists lead the mural, with each being assigned one word. Joseph Pearson was the lead artist for the word Black, Jenny Pickens for the word Lives, and Marie T. Cochran for the word Matter. The trio and a crowd of supporting artists spent most of Sunday in sweltering heat painting the mural, despite being interrupted briefly by an afternoon thunderstorm.
The mural spans the road in Pack Square around the Vance Monument, which is currently shrouded as a task force is being created to determine its future. That task force was created after both Asheville city council and the Buncombe County board of commissioners approved a resolution in June that also called for the removal of two Confederate monuments in Pack Square - a marker with the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and a memorial to Confederate soldiers in front of the Buncombe County courthouse. Both removed this month. The 65-foot high Vance Monument is dedicated to Zebulon Vance, North Carolina's Governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction until his death in 1894. He owned enslaved people prior to the Civil War, and fought against civil rights for Black Americans following it. The monument sits in Pack Square near where the old Buncombe County courthouse stood, which is where it's believed that enslaved people were sold before the Civil War.