painting

Painting a world in which women, migrants have more power

I am the child of first-generation immigrants, and I grew up in Oakland, California, in the 1980s and ’90s, when Oakland was one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

Oakland was the home of the Black Panthers, and the powerful remnants of the Black power movement remained alive in my city even while my neighborhood was being ravaged by the war on drugs, mass incarceration and gangs. My parents taught me the importance of creating something out of nothing. I was always a creative child; art allowed me to create another world for myself in my imagination, where I could be seen in my full humanity.

Favianna Rodriguez
Favianna Rodriguez

My experiences also taught me that I could tap into the power of art and culture to bring about lasting social change.

I work on climate issues because I grew up in a polluted community. I experienced sexism my

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More than 100 artists are painting Black Lives Matter murals on boarded-up windows in Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • After George Floyd’s death, protests broke out in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and some downtown shops were damaged.

  • Thermopolis Smith III, an artist who goes by “Phresh Laundry,” was one of 100 local artists chosen to paint Black Lives Matter murals on boarded-up businesses.

  • A public art organization called Art This Way helped connect the artists with business owners, who will get to keep the art on their property.

  • Phresh Laundry says that painting helped him out of his lowest moments of life, and he hopes his work can inspire others, too.

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Editor’s note: The following contains language about suicide.

Theoplis Smith III — otherwise known as Phresh Laundry — is a self-taught artist whose latest paintings are on the boarded-up businesses of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“With the recent passing of George Floyd, this kind of got the city up in the

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