If you’ve headed down East Washington Avenue toward the Capitol lately, you’ve likely seen a new mural proclaiming “you are beautiful.” It’s on the side of art space and venue Art In. Behind that colorful lettering and the friendly sentiment is a local effort that aims to empower marginalized youth, especially queer and transgender youth, and spread a message of self-acceptance.
Madison non profit The ArtWrite Collective worked with a group of young artists to plan and execute the mural, which also ties in with a broader movement. Artists Alaura Seidl and Wendi Kent began planning the mural in 2014, and eventually coordinated the actual painting work.
Seidl and Kent spoke with contributor Phoebe Schlough recently about how they went about creating the mural, how Madison could do a better job of supporting public-art projects, and the work that goes into art projects focused on social justice. The conversation also touches briefly on another Madison connection—to Madison native Brendan Scanlon, aka street artist SOLVE, who was killed in 2008 in Chicago.