Paint for Peace Brings Artistry to Broken Windows in the Loop

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Artists Mark Ostroot and Nicole High paint at Fro Yo. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artists Mark Ostroot and Nicole High paint at Fro Yo.

On Saturday night, an hour after a peaceful protest of 1,000 or more in the Loop disbanded, a smaller group battled with police — breaking a dozen storefronts in the heart of the commercial district.

But store owners worked through the night to clean up the damage, and by morning, artists began to mobilize. By Sunday afternoon, the plywood boards covering broken windows on Delmar were becoming works of art.
Artists Mark Ostroot, Nicole High and Layden Walley work on the plywood covering Fro Yo. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artists Mark Ostroot, Nicole High and Layden Walley work on the plywood covering Fro Yo.

In their activity on Sunday, the artists were following a game plan that came together during the unrest three years ago in Ferguson. Artists volunteered their services to beautify storefronts on South Grand and in Ferguson itself, providing a note of positivity in a difficult time. They called themselves "Paint for Peace," and their efforts spawned a museum exhibit and a children's book, Painting for Peace in Ferguson.

Yesterday, they got the band back together, filling plywood canvases with art that speaks to their hopes for the city — and a dream of peace.

Some of the artists had never previously met before they found themselves teaming up to take on a piece together, including Mark Ostroot, Nicole High and Layden Walley, who painted a brilliant St. Louis flag onto the plywood covering Fro Yo.

Other artists worked alone. Andy Cross, who was one of the first artists to begin working yesterday, painted a scene showing an eagle and a dove on the wood covering a broken pane at barbecue favorite Salt + Smoke.

Salt + Smoke owner Tom Schmidt, right, with artist Andy Cross. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Salt + Smoke owner Tom Schmidt, right, with artist Andy Cross.

Another artist on the street Sunday was part of the peaceful protest the night before. Cornell McKay, who was the subject of a 2015 RFT cover story, grew up in Pine Lawn and found himself wrongly accused of a high-profile robbery. He did three years before being exonerated.

Yesterday, McKay was in the Loop painting a polar bear — just one artist in a group of volunteers doing their part to add cheer to a neighborhood hit hard on Saturday.

Scroll down to see other photos of the Paint for Peace project. All photos are courtesy of Painting for Peace in Ferguson, a children's book.

Artist Cornell McKay paints a polar bear on the plywood covering Plowsharing Crafts. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artist Cornell McKay paints a polar bear on the plywood covering Plowsharing Crafts.

Artist Sophie Binder works at Meshuggah. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artist Sophie Binder works at Meshuggah.

Artist Christa Denney paints at Hats and Stuff. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artist Christa Denney paints at Hats and Stuff.

Artists Abby Wong and Saifullah Bin Khemet paint at Corner 17. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artists Abby Wong and Saifullah Bin Khemet paint at Corner 17.

Artist Marnie Claunch paints a mural in the storefront just west of Insomnia Cookies. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Artist Marnie Claunch paints a mural in the storefront just west of Insomnia Cookies.

Jomar Jackson paints at Loop Living. - COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • Jomar Jackson paints at Loop Living.

COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK
  • COURTESY OF PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, A CHILDREN'S BOOK



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