Local artist and teacher uses art activism to have her voice heard for racial equality

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A local teacher and artist is using her talents with paint to send a very powerful message about the need for racial equality in the United States.

Kara Daviau made a mural on Monday of George Floyd on a piece of plywood used to cover up the glass shattered by looters at Wildflowers Armory at 217 South Salina Street in Syracuse.

Floyd died May 25 after a Minneapolis Police Officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Protests both peaceful and violent have been going on in cities across the U.S. ever since.

A day and evening of peaceful protests Saturday in Syracuse turned violent late that night into the early morning hours of Sunday.

Daviau, a partner in Wildflowers Armory, came down Sunday to find shattered window glass to the store, and she tells NewsChannel 9 the whole incident sparked an idea.

“Anytime you create a piece of artwork and have a voice you hope that it’s impactful and that other people are inspired by it,” Daviau says.

It also gave her an idea for a lesson to use with her art students at North Syracuse Junior High School and Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

Monday’s lesson was about art activism, using art as a voice for change in the world.

She says “I think the windows themselves really symbolize the world and how broken we are at the moment and placing these boards up almost as band-aids to kind of cover up the problem, so I just felt like using a symbol that could show the change needed in the world and what better than George Floyd’s face.”

Using an image over and over, Daviau says, with bright colors was meant to make an impact and grab people’s attention.

“The world needs to see more in color not just black and white. And I think it’s important to recognize that racism exists in the world and everyone deserves the same love and respect,” she tells NewsChannel 9.

The mural is down now to make room for new windows but Daviau says public art is never permanent but doesn’t mean the message goes away.

“We knew that it would be coming down and I think it served it’s purpose,” she adds.

Daviau says the plan is to save the artwork and possibly display it inside Wildflowers Armory.

More from NewsChannel 9:

For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9.

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