Community activist and leader, Michael Coleman, paints the Art Reconciliation community mural March 5, 2021, in Carbondale, Ill. “Just being able to just give time to give back to your community, I think that’s really important. We take so much but, like, we have to keep giving back to the community and this is my way of doing it,” Coleman said. (Sophie Whitten | @swhittenphotography)
Community activist and leader, Michael Coleman, paints the Art Reconciliation community mural March 5, 2021, in Carbondale, Ill. “Just being able to just give time to give back to your community, I think that’s really important. We take so much but, like, we have to keep giving back to the community and this is my way of doing it,” Coleman said.

Sophie Whitten | @swhittenphotography

Couple designs mural to bring racial unity to Carbondale

March 13, 2021

Artists and community activists, Cree Sahidah Glanz and Marquez Scoggin have partnered with A Gift of Love Charity to create a mural to bring beauty and unity to Carbondale. 

“Me and my wife, Cree, are both facilitating this community mural […] we want to send a message of racial unity, you know, human beings of different skin colors coming together and living in harmony, so that’s what this mural is going to be symbolic of,” Scoggin said. 

Glanz and Scoggin worked to create a space where artists can feel free to express themselves and their beliefs through their pieces. They began their journey at their current location in November of 2019 but only recently opened a new space at the same location about a month ago.

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With racial tensions high around the country, Glanz and Scoggin decided to use art as a means of unity through their organization, Project Human X. 

“Art has a lot of healing properties, and Carbondale and southern Illinois really needed something nurturing,” Glanz said. 

On March 13 Glanz and Scoggin revealed an untitled project where many people from the community have contributed in creating over the past few weeks. The painting is of a face with a brain floating above it, with over thirty people adding to the face by painting patches of skin color to symbolize the togetherness of all races and ethnicities. The artists were also able to add color to the brain which represents the growth and higher understanding of the community. 

“When you’re doing art, you’re not doing anything violent. You’re creating instead of destroying,” Glanz said. 

On Saturday, Apr. 3, 2021, Glanz and Scoggin will unveil their Art Reconciliation community mural as part of their project for racial healing. The mural is based on the painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat, however, unlike the original, this mural more accurately depicts the diversity of the community. 

“We put a diverse twist on it because the original only has caucasian people so we wanted people of all different skin colors […] that’s what Carbondale is and that’s what the world we’re living in is. It’s not just one color,” Scoggin said. 

The other objective of the painting is to project the idea of peace between the people in the image. They wanted the mural to showcase a place where people are relaxed and enjoying their time together without the outside stress of the world.  

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“I want people to look at this and feel calm and know that beautiful things are happening in their community,” Glanz said. 

“We’re bringing human beings together,” Scoggin said. 

Staff Photographer Sophie Whitten can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @swittenphotography.

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