A large crowd, including the mayor and two city council members, attended the celebration of a new mural painted in Huntington’s Fairfield District aimed at honoring African American history in the neighborhood.
The brightly painted offers a powerful visual in one of the busiest areas in Huntington. It depicts a black child in a garden blowing on a dandelion. His clothes are covered with important faces from Fairfield’s black history.
Ernel Martinez painted the mural on the side of Ebenezer Daycare with the help of the daycare children. Martinez is a renowned muralist from Philadelphia. He says he’s honored to take on this project. “There’s so much energy and love in a city like Huntington, and they’ve been so welcoming to me as an artist,” he said.
The mural was painted as part of the Past to Our Future: 3 Building Mural Project. The project is done through a partnership with Unlimited Future, a not-for-profit development center and business incubator.
Project organizer Mitzi Sinnott said that the important African American history of Fairfield is often overlooked. “Our Black history here in Huntington is powerful,” she said. “Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black history was here. This should be a feather in everybody’s cap, black, white, Latino, native, and all.”
Some of the organizations helping with the project are the Carter G. Woodson Lyceum in Huntington, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation in Connecticut, Cincinnati Artworks, Philly Mural Arts, and Forecast Public Art in Minneapolis.
During her speech to the crowd, Sinnott highlighted moments of acceptance and collaboration from organizations, both local and national. She said, “how do we change? In the Ohio River Valley? All we do is say no. And whether that’s about being scared, our family, systems, legacy, whatever it is, let’s start saying yes more often. Because when we say yes, this is what happens. When we let go of our fear, and come to each other with love.”
After an hour of music and guest speakers, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced that the two city council members in attendance, DuRon Jackson and Teresa Johnson, would be sponsoring a $5,000 donation from the city to the project. “Individuals throughout the Ohio River Valley keep saying no. It doesn’t happen here. It’s not happening in the Fairfield area.”
The 3 Building Mural Project will continue with the J.W. Scott Center and the Unlimited Future Center. For more information, you can visit the project’s website at www.unlimitedfuture.org/3buildingmural/.