Bay Area artists uplift community through painted murals in project 'Paint the Void'

SAN FRANCISCO -- When you walk down the streets of San Francisco, you can't help but notice the boarded storefronts as non-essential businesses remain closed. Local artists are bringing back life and beauty to our streets, sending messages of love to people in their community.

Within the last few days, one artist has painted three murals filled with hearts. "Right now, it is so important for people to feel love, so it doesn't look like Armageddon has happened and to provide some sort of comfort for people," said Duser, a visual artist and music producer.

Art agency Building 180 and nonprofit Art for Civil Discourse are teaming up in an effort called Paint the Void. It brings murals to shuttered businesses while providing a stipend for artists who have been affected by COVID-19.

Paint the Void is pairing artists with businesses in their local community to avoid unnecessary travel. Meredith Winner is making the connections between businesses and artists.

"We thought that beautifying the streets with murals would be a good place for people who are still working the frontlines and getting out there everyday," said Meredith Winner, organizer of Paint the Void Project. "We wanted to bring hope into the community and inspire people."

Artists are experiencing hardship, from canceled gigs, art shows and festivals. Paint the Void helps alleviate financial stress to artists who are struggling to pay rent for their art studios and not having a space to create.

San Francisco artist Amos Goldbaum plans to use a canvas as an homage to the influenza pandemic that happened a century ago. "It is showing us that history repeats itself," said Goldbaum. "It might seem crazy and unprecedented, but there are lessons that we can learn in the past," he said.

Paint the Void has received an outpouring of support from the local community and artists. Once the shelter-in-place order is lifted, many artists plan to auction their murals and donate to those in need.

To comply with the shelter-in-place order, artists are creating murals in their homes and art studios. Some artists will be creating the art in a timely manner at off hours with personal protective gear.

Within the first three weeks, 32 murals have been completed, but the plan is to reach 50. Click here to learn how you can donate or participate in Paint the Void.