Ready for change: a local muralist aims to beautify tough neighborhoods

By Torene Harvin

Rahmaan ‘Statik’ Barnes is more than just the man who painted the Prince mural in Avalon Park. He has made it a mission to make many of the city’s tough neighborhoods more appealing.

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The 36-year-old Chicagoan says his former south side neighborhood still struggles with crime, unemployment, abandoned buildings and gang activity.  But that doesn’t mean there can’t be bright spots.

“I take pride in coming from this area, as an artist,” said Barnes. “Why can’t black people over southeast, even down in Bronzeville, can’t have something to kind of identify ourselves with on a cultural level that represent us?”

Photo at Top: Rahmaan ‘Statik’ Barnes painting a recreation of a photograph taken by Jamal Shabazz. (Torene Harvin/Medill)