Chicago

muralist Damon Lamar Reed was commissioned to do a pair of murals on Dr. Martin

Luther King Boulevard, at 27th and 30th streets. Reed learned of 46

For XLVI through the request for qualifications posted on the Internet last

January. "I was honored to get it because there were a lot of good artists

included," he says.

The

building owner at the 27th Street location asked Reed to create

images of Dr. King's dream being realized. "I didn't want just a big picture of

King, so I included him in the context of being creative," Reed says. "I have

people marching and King is in the middle, in color, while the other people are

sepia tone."

When

Reed receives a commission, he begins by researching historical imagery. "I

look for images that spark my imagination and to get across the ideas I want to

portray."

But,

Reed says, he places the highest value on beauty. "When I do a mural, the most

important thing is beauty. Some people get political or social, some are

ambiguous. But, to me, if it's not first beautiful, then the message really

doesn't mean anything. If you don't like looking at it, you won't get it."

Reed's

goal is to bring joy to a community. "It's putting a smile on somebody's face,

changing an attitude." Murals, he says, "add a lot of culture to the city. It's

like a tourist attraction. People can ride around the city and see all these

different art projects. It enriches the city by adding historical value to it."

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