Community Art Project Seeks to Remember "Better Days"

The streets of downtown Kent may have seemed extra empty over the last few months, with the coronavirus pandemic causing many to stay in their homes to mitigate the virus’s spread. To combat the feelings of loneliness she felt, artist Jerrica Damask found a way to bring her passion for art and her love for Kent together this weekend at a community mural event.

Participants worked together to recreate a mural with art by Damask on North Water Street in downtown Kent that reads “Better Days in Kent, Ohio.” Her goal was to remind people of happier times and bring the community together to create - even from a distance.

“I wanted to do something that was really uplifting and really colorful and something that the community could be involved in so giving people different shades of colors and different ways to express themselves and just kind of be involved since everyone's been kind of secluded lately,” said Damask.

She worked with Main Street Kent to plan the project - the city ultimately gets to decide where the painting will end up but for now it is on North Water Street.

“With the help of Main Street Kent they got it up right away and I just had to get an outline approved and had to build the structure,” said Damask. “So it’s removable for whenever, so it’s all up to the city.”

Participants were encouraged to bring their own brushes, and the team provided masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer in order to ensure everyone’s safety while taking part in the painting.

Despite the circumstances, Damask’s main goal was to help the Kent community feel united again.

“I think right now we’re definitely surrounded by times that are very negative and very kind of dreary so any way that we can uplift the community, uplift the students, the people around us,” said Damask. “I think it’s definitely important to look into those ways, and if it’s cheap and easy, why not!”

Chris Abreu is a TV2 reporter. Contact him at cabreu@kent.edu.

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