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TORRINGTON — A civil rights mural on Water Street displaying Martin Luther King Jr., Torrington-born Abolitionist John Brown, and poet Amanda Gorman, will be unveiled on Juneteenth: Saturday, June 19 at 1 p.m.
The mural is being painted on the building at 40 Water Street, home to the WAPJ radio station
and is owned by Steven Temkin of Torrington Downtown Partners.
The mural is being organized by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, Our Culture is Beautiful, and The RiseUP Group out of Hartford.
The mural artist, Ben Keller, started work on the mural earlier this week, spending hours on a three-story lift painting the mural, in both rain and sun.
“I’m honored that I was chosen to paint this mural,” Vernon native Keller said in an interview with the Winsted Phoenix. “This is part of a civil rights project with the goal of painting 39 civil rights portraits around the state by a variety of artists.”
Keller said that this is his third civil rights mural in the state that he has painted.
When told that his work will, more than likely, last on the building for many years, Keller said that he felt “weird.”
“I come from a graffiti culture which is how I got into painting murals,” Keller said. “In graffiti, it’s very temporary. You have to accept the fact that [your work] may not be there in 24 hours. Some of the pieces I have painted on canvases are art that I want to last and be in homes for years and years. Rarely do I return to look at something that I have done in years.”
Keller added that he would love to paint another civil rights mural in the state.
“I hope the mural evokes a lot of conversation and emotion,” Keller said.

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