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In the Streets; On the Walls: Archiving, Activism, and the Urban Art Mapping Street Art Database (SIG-AH and SIG-VIS)

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and cities around the world were transformed by a massive proliferation of graffiti and street art, including words and images expressing a wide range of emotions, demands, and visions for the future. The Urban Art Mapping George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database is a crowdsourced, activist archive of street art created in the context of the ongoing movement demanding social justice and equality. Whether in the form of commissioned murals or unsanctioned graffiti, art in the streets serves to represent the voices of the community, providing a counter-institutional narrative. This presentation focuses on the ways that artists and writers have used walls, posts, streets, and boards as sites for vernacular communicative acts and explores the goals, challenges, and applications of a crowd-sourced archive of protest art in the community.



Dr. Heather Shirey and Dr. Todd Lawrence are co-directors of the Urban Art Mapping research team at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Urban Art Mapping George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art Database can be found at