Muralists team up to paint a brighter future

Minneapolis artist collective Creatives After Curfew paints murals to heal community and depict change.

Illustration+by+Luis+Mendoza

Luis Mendoza

Illustration by Luis Mendoza

Meg Bishop

Murals centered around the Black Lives Matter movement can now be found all over Minneapolis since the police killing of George Floyd. One group of artists is using these murals to picture a better future.

Creatives After Curfew is a collective of artists taking to the streets to paint murals around Minneapolis that represent the BLM movement and Black history. The group first got together in the beginning of June, right after the protests began and the Mayor set a citywide curfew. 

The name Creatives After Curfew was coined to represent how the artists stayed out past curfew to continue creating artwork on the streets. 

CAC’s purpose is to help BIPOC/queer artists create works that encompass images of what a future rooted in justice and liberation would look like to them.

The group consists of a few central organizers, but artists can point themselves out to the leaders of CAC by using the hashtag #creativesaftercurfew on Instagram below a photo of their murals or artworks. The Minneapolis group Public Functionary, led by Tricia Heuring, played a role in both naming and bringing CAC’s work alive. 

“I think a lot of creatives are happy to be a part of such a healing movement by the same token a lot of us recognize that we shouldn’t have to be doing work like this,” said Taylan De Johnette, CAC’s head designer. “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling — they should all still be here, alive.” 

Much of the artists’ work has focused on demanding justice for Black lives. “Communities that need to listen can’t choose to live in ignorance any longer,” said Patricio De Lara, a CAC artist.

CAC believes in creative action and narrative strategy through art, according to its website. Narrative strategy is used by groups to help share context behind the goals of their work. For this group, that goal is centered around the uprising and revolution against the oppression of Black people.

Art supplies, space for creativity, a network of compassion and the opportunity to be part of the revolution are CAC’s greatest assets to the community, according to the artists. The group’s main purpose is to be a healing space for Black creatives to come and express themselves in whatever way they choose. “CAC does provide a healing space for BIPOC artists to thrive,” De Johnette said. 

De Johnette expects to see CAC continue to spread throughout Minneapolis and increase the number of artists on the team, but that is not the future she wants to see. “The future I want to see is the day that we don’t have to make work like this.”

According to De Lara, as the group grows, the murals are planned to span to larger sizes – which CAC hopes will help them become more locally recognized. “I hope to see CAC continually have the opportunities to elevate BIPOC voices.”