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Putnam is next town in MLK39 Mural Project

Local artist is bringing MLK to the YMCA

PUTNAM, Conn. — Mural artist Emida Roller has traveled the state as one of the steady hands behind the MLK39 Mural Project.

The project is part of 39 Martin Luther King-themed murals designed to advance diversity across Connecticut. The group RiseUP for the Arts has been a driving force to make sure that the murals are funded and finished.

RELATED: A 142-foot social justice mural now graces the walls of the Market Street Garage

The latest mural, which will be showcased on the outside walls of the Hale YMCA Youth and Family Center, has extra special significance for Roller because she lives just miles from the YMCA.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a whole year,” said Roller, who has already created MLK works in Southington and Norwich.

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The mural in Putnam will be around 12 feet high by 48 feet long, and currently, it’s being worked on in the gym at the YMCA. On special community paint days, Roller invites the public to lend a hand and grab a paintbrush to pitch in.

Amanda Kelly, the executive director at the Hale YMCA said that the mural “is really is about the local community, it’s about the community’s history, it’s about the present, and the community’s future and our YMCA plays a vital role in all that."

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This particular MLK39 mural has the theme “Teach Peace,” showing Dr. King in the middle of the picture and paintings of local school kids by his side.

“His (King’s) dream was all about kids – of all different races, forget the color of their skin, think of their character,” Roller added.

The MLK Mural in Putnam is set to be dedicated on June 19, which is Juneteenth, at the Hale YMCA.

To learn more about the RiseUP Group, go to theriseupgroup.org/mlk39

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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