Now that the artwork in Clay Terrace has been removed, I was reflecting on a moment I wanted to share. While driving through Clay Terrace some time ago, I glanced to my right, and there was this stunning mural of a Black little girl eating ice cream. Before I realized it, a tear was coming down my cheek. This mural was special; unlike other murals of Black people who were famous or conducting some form of art, this little girl was just eating ice cream. Yet, she had earned her spot in Carmel.
A few days later, while going to Party City with my 10-year-old boys, who, like many 10-year-old boys, only get excited about Minecraft and video games, unexpectedly lit up when they saw the mural. Even more shockingly, they ran to it and exclaimed, “Mommy, mommy, take a picture of us!” I couldn’t believe it; I quickly reached for my phone and took the picture.
My mind raced. Why did this excite my boys when little else did? Then I realized, from this mural, they felt seen. It was another kid who looked like them, doing something they also enjoyed partaking in, displayed in a vast, beautiful mural where they often do not see themselves reflected. In a city whereas a person of color, you can either stand out too much or seem invisible, this seemed like a happy medium.
Thank you, Kevin West, for this beautiful piece of art that will always have a special place in my heart. If you have not had the opportunity to explore the artwork of Kevin West and the rest of the 18 Art Collective, do yourself a favor and visit their “We. The Culture” exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Carmella Sparrow, Carmel