Murals for Justice Newark
On June 27, 2020, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the global call for racial and LGBTQ+ justice, the City of Newark and a unique collaboration of artists, activists and community partners created two massive street murals in Downtown Newark, aka “Murals for Justice Newark”. Nearly 300 students, artists, organizers, and residents helped paint the messages throughout the day, in 2-hour shifts as they practiced social distancing.
Newark’s “Murals for Justice” are not the first to be made in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. To my knowledge, they are the first using letterforms modeled after a distinct typeface, though. The choice is a conscious one: Martin was designed by Tré Seals, one of the very few Black type designers working in the U.S. Released with his own Vocal Type Co., Martin is “a non-violent typeface inspired by remnants of the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968” and named for Martin Luther King Jr.
The video produced by DreamPlay Media shows that the text was first drawn in outline on a grid. This preliminary step helped to accurately transfer the proportions and spacing. In a second step, the outlines were further defined with a brush. The letterforms, which measure 25 feet in height (or 21,600 pt), were then filled in with large rollers, using weatherproof traffic paint. For more info including a full list of credits, see the article by DreamPlay Media.
The Murals For Justice, Newark were part of a robust collaboration between the City of Newark in partnership with the Graphic Design Program at Rutgers University-Newark (ACM-GD), New Arts Justice at Express Newark, Project for Empty Space, as well as
designers, artists, activists and community partners.
The mural typography, implementation kit and signage was designed by Chantal Fischzang, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University-Newark (ACM-GD).
Organization and production: A collaborative partnership including Jennifer Bernstein, Ned Drew & Chantal Fischzang faculty of the Graphic Design Program at Rutgers University-Newark (ACM-GD); fayemi shakur from the City’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Rebecca Jampol from Project for Empty Space, Salamishah Tillet from New Arts Justice at Express Newark, Newark Downtown District, Newark Arts, Sherwin Williams local muralists Malcolm Rolling, Laqya Nuna Yawar and the Land Collective.