The recently completed mural showcases Martin Luther King Jr., John Brown and poet Amanda Gorman. A celebration ceremony for the mural was held on Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19.
The recently completed mural showcases Martin Luther King Jr., John Brown and poet Amanda Gorman. A celebration ceremony for the mural was held on Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19.
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TORRINGTON — On Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19, the organization RiseUp For Arts held multiple events throughout the state for the unveilings of Racial Equity Murals.
This year, murals featuring civil rights figures have been painted in New Haven, Bloomfield, Manchester, West Hartford, and Torrington.
In Torrington, RiseUp For Arts collaborated with various city organizations to create a mural of Martin Luther King Jr., Torrington-born Abolitionist John Brown, and poet Amanda Gorman.
The mural has been painted on a building located at 42 Water Street, the location of WAPJ Community Radio.
The building is owned by Steven Temkin of Torrington Downtown Partners.
Several organizations collaborated with RiseUp For Arts to create the mural, including Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, and Our Culture is Beautiful.
At the Torrington event, an event was held with several speakers of local organizations talking about the importance of the mural to Torrington.
The event included a performance of “A Change is Gonna Come” by Ysanne Marshal of the Arts Council, a performance by several dancers from the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, and a drum circle by Angaza Mwando from Our Culture is Beautiful.
“This is what collaboration looks like,” event emcee Jacque Williams from Culture 4A Cause said at the beginning of the event. “This is who we are: T-Town strong. Building a community of arts, and artisans.”
The event served as a celebration of Juneteenth, the civil rights figures in the mural, and Torrington itself.
“It was art that attracted me to Torrington 15 years ago,” Amy Smith of Mental Health Connecticut’s Mending Art program said. “When I came here, I found an incredible community filled with so many kind and caring people, all working together to build a stronger community. I am very happy to call Torrington my home.”
The mural was created by artist Ben Keller who created two other similar murals in the state.
“He did an amazing job working with spray cans to paint this mural,” Temkin said. “No paintbrush, no stencils, and this former dental office never looked like this before.”
“Today is about joy, happiness, and peace, and most of all, it’s about love,” Effie Mwando from the local organization Our Culture is Beautiful said about the mural. “Today is representative of unity and is the beginning of great things to come in the city of Torrington.”

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