Diversity mural to be unveiled in Torrington on Juneteenth, fate of planned BLM mural unknown

From RiseUP's YouTube page: a mural depicting Martin Luther King Jr. in Manchester.
From RiseUP's YouTube page: a mural depicting Martin Luther King Jr. in Manchester.

TORRINGTON — A mural honoring Martin Luther King Jr., John Brown, and other civil rights figures through the years is being planned for the second story of a building on 42 Water Street.
The building is the location of WAPJ Community Radio and is owned by Steven Temkin of Torrington Downtown Partners.
The mural is being organized by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, Our Culture is Beautiful, and The RiseUP Group out of Hartford.
Previously, Our Culture is Beautiful was planning to create a Black Lives Matter Mural at the City Hall public parking lot, located at the corner of Main Street and City Hall Avenue (see article here).
However, the fate of the planned Black Lives Matter mural is currently unknown.
Representatives from Our Culture is Beautiful and the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council would all not comment on this story.
However, RiseUP Group Executive Director Matt Conway spoke to The Winsted Phoenix about the mural.
According to its Facebook page, the RiseUP Group is a youth and community service foundation.
The foundation is planning to install 39 similar murals all across the state.
“In each town, we are partnering with local organizations and the community to make these murals happen,” Conway said. “We are planning to unveil the Torrington mural on Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19.”
Conway said that on Juneteenth RiseUP is planning to unveil similar murals in Manchester, New Haven, Bloomfield, and West Hartford.
“Each mural will have a different design based on the results of a survey that went out to each community,” Conway said. “Based on the community feedback, the artist will take the information and design the mural. We are still reviewing the results and we don’t have a sketch ready yet, but it will include national and local civil rights leaders. John Brown will be represented on the Torrington mural along with other civil rights leaders. I don’t know if ‘Black Lives Matter’ will specifically be painted on it, but the mural will represent diversity and inclusion. We are having these black civil rights leaders on there to send a message that Black Lives Matter.”
The foundation has set up a crowdfunding project to fund work on the mural.
“Our goal is to raise $15,000 to make the mural happen and to have a celebration ceremony,” he said. “The GoFundMe fundraiser is out there to allow the community to donate to help fund the project.”
When asked what would happen if the foundation did not reach its goal, Conway said that “there’s wiggle room in the budget.”
“There are ways to get donations for materials, including pants and supplies, that would reduce the budget a little bit,” he said. “We might have to make the mural smaller than what we are planning. In any case, we are staying positive and marching ahead.”

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