Small businesses board up storefronts, but artist sees potential
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Small businesses on Westminster Street never thought they’d have to board up their windows to stay safe from looting.
“There’s a little bit of anxiety on the street, obviously, with all of the wood going up,” said Darrien Segal of Craftland. “It definitely brings a level of nervousness.”
But a local artist, who goes by the name Agonza, sees an opportunity to turn that nervous energy into something positive.
With the permission of small business owners, she’s painting murals on the boards in the hope of deterring looting.
“We can just go around and do art pieces like this, and show support to our community,” Agonza said. “I think it will be really powerful, and hopefully there will be less vandalism.”
Each brushstroke helps to portray positive images of black and brown leaders, reminding young people of potential role models like Miss Rhode Island USA.
“If we can use our talent and our skill to show that that’s not who we are, and put that skill out there to show that we can rebuild our community, then that’s what I want to show the youth,” Agonza said. “Because there’s so many talented kids out here.”
And neighbors say the art doesn’t send a message only to youth.
“Young people are the future for sure, but but older people too,” said Amy Barnes of Providence. “We all have a role to play in making sustained, actual legitimate change.”