Schenectady paints ‘Black Lives Matter’ across Jay Street, Capital Region artists show their support

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People and governments around the Capital Region have been using art to express their pain and support for the Black community. Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy hopes his citizens will hear their message loud and clear as workers got started Tuesday on a Black Lives Matter painting across Jay Street.

“We are going to look back at this in 10 years or 20 years and this was a turning point. We are recognizing the imperfections that exist within society,” Mayor McCarthy explained to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Councilwoman Marion Porterfield introduced the idea to council. She says this week the city also plans to start up public art projects with The Hamilton Hill Arts Center.

“People have different ways of expressing themselves with what’s going on. So to be able to do that artistically, to just let it out, to paint names, to paint faces of people, to just release the pain and the grief that people are feeling right now, that is huge,” she explains.

All over the Capital Region we’ve seen art supporting the minority community, even while business owners boarded up windows and doors in fear of violent riots. Dr. Victor Tulchinsky says he didn’t want people passing on Lark Street to see nothing but ugly plywood, especially right next to Albany’s own beautiful Black Lives Matter and Pride paintings.

“The impetus was if it doesn’t work, it’s better than nothing, and number two is if I learn something along the way, great,” Tulchinsky explains at his practice just along the Albany Black Lives Matter painting.

He says he was even inspired to start his own community art society, the Center Square Artist Guild for Creative Enlightenment. He says he was moved by the profound reactions by people passing by.

“We started to see all these women sort of walking by and literally they would be walking, they stopped, they turn around, they come back and read it again in their minds, and then they just started crying profoundly,” Tulchinsky explains while standing across from the quote:

“All mothers were summoned when George Floyd called out for his mama.”

Tulchinsky says his plan for his new nonprofit is to keep the ball rolling on artistic expression. He says he thinks art can change a person’s entire outlook on a problem, and that just may be what we need more of right now.

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