Raleigh Murals Project, co-founded by Jedidiah Gant and JT Moore, has brought approximately 50 murals to the city over the past five years. The two art enthusiasts, who are also NC State alumni, started the project as an initiative to bring more art to the city, with their tagline being, “make Raleigh colorful.”
The group functions as a third party to connect artists, business owners and building owners who are interested in bringing a mural to the city. Gant said sometimes individual parties do not know where to start if they want a mural, and that is when the Raleigh Murals Project helps.
“Sometimes an organization reaches out and says, ‘We have money, and we need a building and an artist, can you help us with that?’” Gant said. “Sometimes a building owner just needs an artist. Sometimes an artist just wants to do a mural, and we try to find a home for it. It is just kind of this matchmaking system.”
Gant explained how the Raleigh Murals Project came about, saying he and Moore turned a hashtag into an actual project.
“I was running New Raleigh at the time, which was a social media news website in Raleigh,” Gant said. “I started posting images on Instagram with the hashtag ‘put a mural here’ just as a fun project, to create conversations of maybe we need more murals around the city.”
Their first project took place in 2014, when Shaw University showed interest in painting a mural for its 150-year anniversary. Gant said the city of Raleigh contacted him and Moore about looking for an artist to paint the mural.
“I think the first thing they did was help them find a muralist to do a mural to promote the mural they were going to do,” Gant said. “It was a mural to promote a mural.”
Moore said the Raleigh Murals Project is not an actual nonprofit; however, they do not make any money from the artists or businesses because both he and Gant view their work as a hobby, rather than a job.
Another challenge the pair faces is the City of Raleigh does not allow signage that is advertisement. If the Raleigh Murals Project wanted to raise or make money, they would be taking it directly from the artist, which is not something the two are looking to do.
Since advertisement is not allowed, all of the businesses that bring murals to the city are doing it because they appreciate art and the community. Companies such as Google, Vans, Red Hat and more have worked with the Raleigh Murals Project, and Moore said more murals have popped up recently without their involvement.
“Most of them we are not involved with anymore, which is actually exciting,” Moore said. “I think people were thinking we were trying to take credit for it. We actually want to see more murals happen without us. We care more about the city than anything else, because we are not painting and we are not taking money. This is just a pride thing in Raleigh for us.”
At any time, the Raleigh Murals Project is undertaking 3-4 projects. They are currently working with the Carolina Hurricanes, who want to paint a mural in Cameron Village. Happy + Hale will also start a mural project at North Hills this week which should be finished within a week or two.