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Community Healing Mural to be Unveiled to Public on June 9

The Community Justice Center, Southside Community Center’s Black Girl Alchemy Program, and local artists Annemarie Zwack and Terrance Vann are inviting the community to the unveiling of a brand-new mural on the Commons in Downtown Ithaca on Sunday, June 9 at 1:30pm.

The mural is part of the Community Justice Center’s Community Healing work, a focus of the Reimagining Public Safety initiative passed by the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County in 2021.

The mural was designed by local artists Annemarie Zwack and Terrance Vann alongside participants in Southside’s Black Girl Alchemy Program. Black Girl Alchemists were asked to envision what community healing and justice look like to them when brainstorming concepts for the mural, their concepts were then brought to life by local artists. Throughout the development of the mural the Community Justice Center, staff at Southside Community Center, and the local artists held working sessions with Black Girl Alchemists to further explore concepts of community healing and storytelling through artistic expression.

The mural unveiling will follow the ribbon cutting for another mural in Ithaca celebrating Dorothy Cotton’s civil rights legacy (more information can be found online). Community members are encouraged to attend both events to celebrate art, civil rights history, and community healing.

Monalita Smiley, Project Director of the Community Justice Center invited people to attend “who are interested in learning from the wisdom of young people in our community,” stating “This mural is a profound statement on what it means to be a Black girl in our community, I’m so proud of the young artists and our community for coming together to make this vision a reality.”

Dr. Nia Nunn, President of the Southside Board of Directors and Co-Founder of the Black Girl Alchemy Program remarked, “This mural holds a deep and special meaning for Ithaca and Tompkins County – it’s directly in the heart of the Commons, a space we all know and love. The mural is near the Bernie Milton Pavilion, known to everyone as a gathering spot where we have come together to perform, celebrate, and educate community members.” Dr. Nunn added, “This mural project and the Reimagining Public Safety work is born from tragedy and injustice across our country. This work of Black Girl Alchemists offers a model for how we heal ourselves while offering a vision for a healthier and more just community.”

Artist Terrance Vann stated, “I see the possibility of healing and creating a better world through art every day. I am so glad to have helped make this mural a reality and to work with and learn from the girls at Southside.” Vann added, “Tompkins County and the Tompkins Center for History and Culture making such a large canvas available in the center of the Commons is a huge opportunity to tell the story of community healing and bring more people into social justice work envisioning a brighter future.”