"Off the Wall" and the Freedom University Mural Project


This week, Freedom University joined Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, WonderRoot, and the NFL Atlanta Host Committee in the launch of "Off the Wall," a community-based social justice mural project that will unveil more than 30 murals in conjunction with Atlanta's hosting of the 2019 Superbowl. 

Meanwhile, at Freedom University's Summer Arts Program, students in the Mural Project class worked on their painting skills with renowned local artists Fahamu Pecou and Charmaine Minniefield in preparation for the mural installation later this summer. 

We are honored to be partnering with our friends and longtime supporters at WonderRoot. Through community dialogues and the arts, we hope to make raise consciousness about the undocumented student movement and portray the dignity and contributions of Atlanta's immigrant community. 

From the New York Times: "Atlanta to Bring Human Rights Murals to City for Super Bowl"

Although the Super Bowl is a one-time event in Atlanta, those involved with Off the Wall hope the event leaves an enduring legacy. In recent years, street art has popped up throughout the city. By focusing on human and civil rights as the content of the murals, Off the Wall hopes to create lasting conversations about issues affecting the city.

The artwork will begin appearing in the city this fall. A subcommittee is scouting locations and talent to produce the work, but officials said some of the murals will be downtown. Freedom University, an initiative that provides college prep and other services for [undocumented students], will help in both the creation and installation of the art.

"Young people in this city have been leading the way for human rights," Freedom University executive director Laura Emiko Soltis said. She said they were "standing on the shoulders of giants," referencing leaders such as Lewis.

NFL players have sparked controversy and drawn criticism from President Donald Trump and some members of the public for kneeling during the national anthem. Although inspired by the way people are using their spotlight to promote human rights, Off the Wall was in the works before the anthem protests, Appleton said. The project has the support of the NFL, according to Daniels.

"This project was inspired by the way artists and other activists struggle for justice and equality for all," Appleton said, calling protests a powerful way to transform communities.


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Laura Soltis