MANCHESTER — To commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the town has collaborated with CT Murals to install a mural of King that is set to be completed today, the annual holiday named in his honor.
Ben Keller, a sponsored artist supported by CT Murals, is set to complete his mural, “Birthing of a Legacy,” this afternoon outside the Mahoney Recreation Center, 110 Cedar St., adjacent to the now-closed Washington Elementary School.
CT Murals is a collaboration of Connecticut artists and organizations that produces public art displays. According to its website, CT Murals was started by The RiseUP Group, a nonprofit, in 2015. Through the project, 25 mural projects have been completed in the state with more than 15 local artists and partners contributing, and more than 300 volunteers have helped paint murals.
“Art is more than just something to look at. It has the impact to change minds, challenge our norms, and spread joy and light into a community,” says Matt Conway, executive director of CT Murals.
According to information from CT Murals, Keller is a young professional painter and mural artist who launched his own business in 2018. His mural work and painting can be found across the state in places such as Fairfield, New Haven, Norwalk, and Willimantic.
“By partnering with CT Murals and artist Ben Keller we can continue to build upon the rich tapestry of art and culture in our community,” said Christopher Silver, Manchester’s director of the Department of Leisure, Family, and Recreation. “This mural symbolizes the commitment of our organization and community to promote and celebrate the diversity, equity, and inclusion found in Manchester.”
According to Keller, his vision for “Birthing of a Legacy” depicts King as a man bringing light to darkness.
An official dedication for Keller’s tribute mural will be held sometime in June in conjunction with Juneteenth celebrations, town officials said. In November, the Board of Directors unanimously approved Juneteenth as a town holiday.
June 19 represents the day in 1865 that slaves in Galveston, Texas, were told by Union soldiers that they were free — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.