Last month, LA based muralist Lydia Emily took on the challenge of painting a wall in Skid Row – a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles that most people either speed through in a hurry or completely avoid. Any neighborhood struggles with the idea of a stranger coming in and painting on their walls. This was particularly pertinent for the residents of Skid Row, some of whom call the wall their home. Many of the residents vocalized strong feelings of anger and irrational but Lydia remained determined to complete her piece. When a local artist, Crushow, joined Lydia Emily to paint and the mural began to take shape, the neighborhood gradually began to accept and understand why she was there. The finished product with its simple but positive message won over even the most irritated residents.
Unfortunately, the peace was eventually broken with the sound of gunshots as Lydia and our group began packing up. We got away unscathed, but a local was shot in the stomach. Unlike the residents of Skidrow, we could go back to our family, shower off the paint and move on. The experience reminded me how most of us take the luxury of security and a home for granted. I will never forget the reaction of the locals, their pride in their home and the incredible battle they face on a daily basis.
There will be more murals on Skidrow in the next few months. Follow the #Skidrowmurals project for followup.