Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Public Art, Reclamation, and Social Change Mural Project

Project #
Davidson College
  • Makayla Binter

After a difficult year at Davidson College where two students were removed from campus for racist tweets, Makayla Binter sought to create a mural project that would serve as an interactive space for the community to engage with difficult topics like racism, colorism, classism, and homophobia, and to ultimately facilitate reconciliation.

“Public art and murals are meant to create change,” Makayla writes. “The mural project contributes to peace because it provides a safe entry point for people with different opinions and from different backgrounds to connect through art.”

The project received additional support from an arts-based grant at Davidson called the Spike! grant. It included four panels, each highlighting a different social issue affecting students, along with space for students to engage with the topics by writing questions and responses to the artwork, along with a list of suggested books on each topic.

“Working on the mural at Davidson allowed for opportunities to engage with the community in ways I did not imagine I would while completing the project,” Makayla writes. “Many curious town members stopped to learn about what I was painting, which allowed me to hear the thoughts and feelings of community members not directly connected to Davidson."

Makayla says the murals will facilitate more open and productive dialogue on the controversial topics that affect the college, and she hopes to bring speakers and authors to campus to spark further discussions.

“Something magical happens when people have the opportunity to create with one another,” she writes. “Being a part of that kind of creative process and being a catalyst for change was breathtaking!”