To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Art – Healing – Hope & Help – St. Louis & Ferguson

The wounds of racial division, inequality and ignorance are deep and long in Saint Louis (STL).  They have festered since before the Civil War in Missouri where this slave state officially fought with the North, but the reality was a divided state. Saint Louis  was anti-slavery for the most part, but the racism from long ago  still lives strongly here. I see it every day. Even though I live in the most racially diverse city right next to Saint Louis, it is in the air.



These racial wounds became explosive with the death of African American teenager Michael Brown in August just outside of Saint Louis in Ferguson, and the acquittal of  the white Police Officer Darren Wilson last week.  One of the areas of destructive protests was in the city of St. Louis along Grand Ave., a neighborhood of beautiful old homes and apartment buildings next to Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden.



Shop windows and other business windows were broken in a destructive protest last Monday night when the acquittal was announced.  Three blocks of businesses have been mostly boarded up since then. Not all the boarded up windows were broken, some boards are to protect unbroken windows. Luckily most businesses are open now, but not all.  The owners are waiting for new glass, and/or  are keeping boards up as temporary protection.




ART HEALS – Shortly after the windows were broken, plywood was put up. And shortly after that artists moved in.  Instead of seeing the ugliness of  brokenness, the artists painted signs with wise and questioning words, along with images of hope and change.


stop-heal-turn-off-grand-ave-art-blog-creativity-for-the-soul copy
























PHOENIX RISING – hopefully our region can rise up to make the changes needed. There is a lot of work ahead.









two-figures-arched-grand-ave-art-blog-creativity-for-the-soul copy





Perhaps this should become the official Saint Louis flag, with a peace sign instead of a symbol to show that this was where the US officially bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French.  And that the two rivers (Missouri and Mississippi) coming together is a coming together of all the people.




peace-love-imos-grand-ave-art-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogImo’s is a local pizza chain. Some locals can’t live without it.



eggs-grand-ave-art-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogA breakfast restaurant created this painting.

MY FAVORITE – And my favorite is Upcycle Exchange. The front window of the shop was broken. The owner couldn’t open over the busiest weekend of the year.  Instead her friend painted the vehicle  that became a coffee shop for the weekend. A hole was cut in the board with a little shelf so coffee and cookies could be served.


 AND WHAT ABOUT THE ART & HEALING & HELP IN FERGUSON AND DELLWOOD? The owner of Upcycle Exchange told me that a similar effort to paint the boarded up windows of the businesses that were damaged and destroyed is going on.  Her shop was collecting paint for this.

$ HELP – Businesses in Ferguson and Dellwood were damaged, and some destroyed, much worse than Grand Ave. this past week.  There are fund raising efforts underway to bring financial help to all of  these businesses in St. Louis, Ferguson and Dellwood. Here is a link to an article by the St. Louis Post Dispatch that links to these fund raising efforts.

HELP WITH THE PAINTING – Here’s some more info on the painting in Ferguson: This group is called “Paint for Peace STL”  And this fundraising site,, raises money to help with Paint for Peace STL.





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