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Underground Railroad Mural Coming to Bedford, Ohio

August 12, 2020

Graffiti HeArt is pairing up with Bedford Downtown Alliance and Crossroads Universal on a public mural project with an underground railroad theme. The historical significance of the underground railroad in Bedford, Ohio, is a story untold to most. Bedford was known for its strong anti-slavery sediment, which is why this part of town became a stop along the Underground Railroad.

One such story from the history of Bedford and the Underground Railroad was that of a man named Julius Caesar Tibbs who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1812, and whose portrait will be included in the mural along. Tibbs escaped the plantation and was later found at the farm of Joseph Burns in Bedford, Ohio, in a large hollow tree. There the Burns family gave Tibbs food and provided him with a place to stay on their farm.  He lived in the town another 50 years and was well known as an orator, philosopher and humorist.

Also in the mural will be a portrait of Harriet Tubman, American abolitionist and political activist who was born into slavery. Tubman escaped and then made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses referred to as the Underground Railroad.

Graffiti HeArt engaged participating artists Stina Aleah, Davon Brantley, and Christa Childs to team up on this project. The three artists formed a collaboration with the help of Stamy Paul, President & Founder of Graffiti HeArt non-profit after meeting them during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) street mural project. While engaging with the three artists and learning more about their background, experience, and body of work, the artist team was formed and will tackle this historic mural together, working with one another for first time.

Stina, the lead artist, is an extremely talented and experienced artist and muralist, and spent some time in Miami where she grew her talents and expanded her portfolio before moving back to Northeast Ohio. Davon is a graduate of Cleveland Institute of Art, and an accomplished artist and art instructor. In addition to participating with in the BLM street mural, Davon recently participated on the Graffiti HeArt Euclid Green mural along Euclid Avenue near East 167th. Christa is a creative and talented artist who has experience in a variety of medium, and will be expanding her portfolio further with this mural project.

The mural will be installed on a one-story building owned by Matthew Stewart, owner of Spirit Apotheosis. The building sits along the railroad tracks where President Abraham Lincoln came through in February of 1861 while on his way to Washington for his inauguration. Lincoln again passed through in 1865 during his funeral procession.

The artists will begin the preliminary layout of the mural design over the next week, and will be painting over the next 2-3 weeks, painting during the morning hours.

This is the first of two murals that Graffiti HeArt will be curating for Bedford Downtown Alliance this year. For more information and to donate to Graffiti HeArt, visit Graffiti HeArt .

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