In less than 10 days, a group of artists turned a 3,000 square foot empty wall space in downtown Rochester into a multi-story mural tribute to John Lewis.
The mural on State Street is called “I Am Speaking” and it depicts Lewis delivering an impassioned speech in 1963.
It sits steps away where Frederick Douglass delivered one of his most famous speeches, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” in 1852.
The painting is also around the corner from City Hall, the site of several protests this year. This did not happen by accident.
21-year-old Rochester Native Ephraim Gebre is one of the artists behind this project, and he is very familiar with the history of this area.
“Once we get that image up there, it’s going to rock Rochester,” Gebre told the D&C.
“Just the size and the scale. The goal is that it reaches people for years to come. Our intention and our purpose for coming here is to uplift the community and enrich the community. I hope when people see this, they are moved in some way.”
Fundraising efforts for the project started on October 8th 2020 and quickly caught the attention of eager contributors.
The John Lewis State Street Mural GoFundMe Page has exceeded it’s original goal of $20,000 and the painters exceeded the public’s expectations!
Scroll down to see the evolution of the mural, as captured by local photographer Quajay Donnell.
— Quajay (@quajay) November 10, 2020
Good Progress on some Good Trouble. The heavier rain held out just long enough.
Welcome to Rochester, Mr. Lewis. pic.twitter.com/DT6VOIvrbO
— Quajay (@quajay) November 15, 2020
After their champagne toast, Jared, Darius and Dan were taking one final look as I arrived and before they pulled out of town. pic.twitter.com/ZhVUk5TRxy
— Quajay (@quajay) November 19, 2020