Public art is everywhere at Woodhill Homes — much of it historic, dating from the 1930s and 1940s.
A panel on a building shows a woman hoisting a basket of fruit above her head. In the community center gym, WPA murals cover the walls, showing scenes of everyday life from when the complex was built. But for the public housing development's current residents, what the art doesn't depict is just as noticeable as what it does.
"We don't have people of color," says Woodhill resident Marilyn Burns. "This is fine art, this was probably fantastic art [when it was installed], but we want something representative of our community."
The fact that all or most of the people in the murals are white is driven by Woodhill’s history. When it first opened, almost everyone who lived there was white. Now, all but eight of the 916 residents are African American.
"This is now 2019," Burns says. "So we need to see from then to now. Because it's become more diverse. And we want art depicting these times right now."
Burns says residents don’t want to replace or change the old art, "but to add to it, to be diverse."
Read ideastream's article “Surrounded by History, Woodhill Residents Create Art For The Present,” featuring the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.