Artists are painting messages of unity and racial justice on the boards protecting a D.C. church’s stained glass windows.
Many businesses around Lafayette Square are boarded up as they await replacement for glass broken during earlier protests.
“For others they’re choosing to keep it up because they’re still closed due to the pandemic,” said Gerren Price of DowntownDC Business Improvement District.
St. John’s Church’s century-old stained glass is covered for protection.
Two dozen artists are turning the plain plywood into message boards.
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“I actually have a piece, it’s of a young girl holding her fist up,” artist Luther Wright said. “It’s surrounded by different words — love, a gate, different messages.”
“My piece is going to be about a young boy standing in solidarity,” artist Sonia Jones said. “I’m going to put the words ‘peace be still.’”
“All we want to do is start to bring the expression of rejuvenation and starting over and hope,” artist David Zambrano said.
“The nature of stained glass is that light comes in and spreads beauty,” St. John’s rector the Rev. Rob Fisher said.
The art outside will spread beauty, too,” Fisher said.
“We’re sending the beauty out, now,” he said.
Once the boards come down, the National Museum of African American History and Culture wants them for future exhibition.
“Growing up as an artist as a kid, you always think that’s one of your dreams,” artist Shawn Perkins said. “If you make it in a museum, that’s big.”