Former George Floyd muralist hopes new venture creates community change

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There were murals painted on plywood to protect Minneapolis businesses and on stores that were damaged during the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in late May.

Outside an Uptown neighborhood coffee shop on Hennepin Avenue, there was a mural that showed Floyd with angel wings protecting protestors when a truck drove onto the Interstate 35W Bridge.

Local artist making others view the 35W bridge truck incident as something more positive

It’s that mural that artist Antione Jenkins helped create that has led to a new venture for his team at Antz Creationz.

"I’m not going to lie, it’s been a blessing," Jenkins said about businesses that have reached out to him after seeing the mural.

Those businesses include Spyhouse Coffee, which announced this week that it will give proceeds from a new cup and drink designed by Jenkins’ team to communities hurting from recent unrest and COVID-19.

Antz Creationz designed a cup and a tea drink called the ‘AC Cooler.’ The proceeds for the tea will go to Juxtaposition Arts, a teen-staffed art and design center in north Minneapolis and West Broadway Business and Area Coalition Northside Funders Group partnership to support businesses on Minneapolis’s northside that have been impacted by COVID-19 and the recent uprising.

Jenkins hopes the teens that will benefit will also see how art can be a vehicle for change in various forms.

"It’s paving the way for their dreams —‘Oh, I can do this’ — I didn’t know this was a way being a professional, to design a cup or artwork that’s on the side of a wall or outside businesses,” Jenkins said of the project. “Growing up you’re not really hearing about professions or lanes you can go into and be awesome."

Jenkins worked with Creative Manager Stephon Atuti on the new venture to help the community after recent unrest.

"If you have that gift…I think you need to use it," Atuti said of their project helping the teens tell their stories through art. “I think that’s what’s important to make the change.”