Social Justice Mural Project Wins National Diversity Award


The City of Gainesville Social Justice Mural Project has earned a 2021 Cultural Diversity Award from the National League of Cities. The project placed second in the award’s 50,000-200,000 population category.

“We are delighted the Gainesville Social Justice Mural Project has gained recognition at the national level,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Russell Etling. “The project truly illustrates the city’s commitment to supporting diversity in our community and in our programs,” he said. 

The mural project was among the winners recognized for diversity and for total community collaboration and partnership at the virtual Congressional City Conference earlier this month. Submissions were evaluated for creativity, impact on the community and scope of the program.

“In a year when local leadership was on the frontlines, it should come as no surprise that cities responded to the changing demographics of their communities to make them more welcoming and inclusive,” said NLC President and Councilmember Kathy Maness of Lexington, SC. “The Cultural Diversity Awards are a key part of NLC’s work to recognize innovative programs by local leaders,” she said.

The city’s 352walls Community Artist Program selected 12 regional artists or artist teams last December to participate in the Gainesville Social Justice Mural Project. Their names and the locations of the murals are:

  • Robert Ponzio and Mimi Stocker, Cofrin Nature Park (4810 NW Eighth Ave.)
  • Myqueal Lewis and Pam Valcante, adjacent to the Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center (1028 NE 14th St.)
  • Thomas Berdugo and Jenna Horner, Oakview Park (810 NW Eighth Ave.)
  • Turbado Marabou and Angel Mir, adjacent to Porters Community Center (512 SW Second Terr.)
  • Jesus (Jah Seck) Martinez, Guido Montenegro, Justo (RAS) Rodriguez and Fabian Sanchez, Possum Creek Park (4009 NW 53rd Ave.)

The Gainesville Social Justice Project was underwritten by a fund established to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the city’s incorporation.