FRIDAY, Sept. 24 — Artist Brian Whitfield is keeping himself quite busy as summer transitions into autumn. Lately, he’s spending his days at the Allen Neighborhood Center at 1611 E. Kalamazoo St. painting a brand-new mural as part of the community center’s massive Allen Place renovation project.
Whitfield’s mural will be a wonderous vision of the culture found within the Allen Neighborhood Center and Lansing’s east side neighborhood. Images that will be incorporated in the mural include girls planting trees, guys playing guitar and drums, stylized houses, greenhouses, fruits and vegetables, the Capitol and an urban farmers market. He expects that he will finish the mural by early-October.
“It’s all about the community in this area,” Whitfield said. “The inspiration is the Allen Farmers Market and all of the festivals that happen here. It will have bright colors and a cheerful feel.”
Whitfield also just finished a mural commissioned by the Monroe Community Church in Grand Rapids. He also entered the mural, which he named “Planted by the Sacred Streams of Grace,” in the city’s 2021 ArtPrize contest. “Grace” depicts a vibrant abstract landscape of a tree that is made of people and a flowing river and row of houses formed by the coalescence of several unique geometric shapes.
“They were going to open the church during ArtPrize, so I said, ‘Why don’t we just include it in our ArtPrize displays?’ It’s actually a finalist for one of the awards, the Contemporary African-American Award,” Whitfield said.
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