by Rudy Reed

Let's face it. Currently the world is in shambles. A pandemic unlike one we have ever seen in our lifetimes. We are also in the largest battle for racial equality, and fighting against police brutality of blacks.  On May 25th the initial arresting of George Floyd would end with him dying while in the company of the police. Millions across the world would see the video of a white Minneapolis cop  kneeling on the neck of a black for 9 minutes. 

A time when are be urged to stay indoors because of the rampant spread of Covid 19, angry citizens are now putting their health at risk and pouring into the streets across the coutry to end racism.  An abundance of rioting and looting has happened, These events are often sensationlized by the media. But the large numbers of peaceful protests seen acrosss the world should be recognized as well. 

About a month after the shutdowns in New York happened, stores and boutiques in Soho began boarding up their doors and windows.  Many of those that didn't had their property destroyed and merchandise stolen. Spray painted messages are now everwhere. Many with the letters BLM (Black Lives Matter) and FTP (Fuck The Police).  The luxury distric has loss its luster. 

The current state of Soho is a sign of what the world is experiencing. Hurt, Anger, and Abandonment. But in their efforts to build morale and convey messages, artists have began utilyzing the plwood on the storefronts as canvases.  The streets now form a gallery. A gallery of rememberance and an addressing of social issues. The platform is recognized as the #sohosocialimpact.

The project roughly started two weeks about. Artist Tristan Reginato reached out to the nonprofit organization Paint the World.  $5000 dollars worth of brushes and paintes were donated by Blick Art Materials.  Reginato reached out to his art circle looking for volunteers, and from there, the ball began to roll.

Some artist, such as Natalie Woodsoon, didnt reach out to Soho Social Impact for a connection. She explanis that she walked the streets last Friday, saw others work, and decided to share her talents. She used her own money for her supplies.

"Ask for forgivess rather than permission," she says.

(piece by Natalie Woodson)

Even as you read this, stores in Soho have already began to start preparing for reopening. The process of debording has started. So what happens with all of the plywood with these very uplifting images and messages? My question was quickly answered.

Three hours ago Soho Social Impact posted on their Instagram page asking for volunteers to help dismantle and store roughly 60 boards. "Every artist will be strongly urged to donate 75% or more funds to organizations." A helpful list is included in their bio, which includes organizations Black Lives Matter, Black Mental Health Alliance, National Bail Fund, I Run With Maud, Justice for Breonna, and several others.

above (a screenshot of Soho Social Impact's IG page)

If you are unable to make it to Soho, please enjoy these images from the gallery.

(piece by Sule. IG; @sulecantcook)

above piece by @beelzebaby

piece by Beatriz Ramos -

pieces by @marco.villard

piece by @si_golraine

piece by @nickckirk

piece by @tigerrayy

piece by Adama Abib Nanguin Coulibaly
IG: @adam_abib_coulibaly_

piece by @sacsix

piece by @emmahaskel

piece by @itsthatfuckingfaceagain
and @individualactivist