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Summer Mural Project

Last winter Vox Siren and Art Uprising approached the Black United Fund of Oregon with a proposal of creating a beautiful mural to promote visibility of the organization and powerful women leaders. Kimberlee Sheng, the Executive Director of Black United Fund, and recipient of the 2015 Coretta Scott King Humanitarian Service Award, provided leadership in the creative design. The Black United Fund has historically been and is currently lead by black women- a demographic whose history is largely neglected in the public domain. Kimberlee’s vision brings to life powerful women that have inspired so many people throughout history. From left to right the figures depicted will be Coretta Scott King, Ruby Bridges, Ruby Dee, Angela Davis, and Maya Angelou. At the far right a young girl stands below the image of Maya Angelou reflecting on the women who came before her. She represents a generation boldly ready to continue the legacy of powerful leadership.

“As a child growing up the women depicted on this mural were major inspirations in life; they embodied the vision I held for myself, and the determination that was required to create real and lasting change. These women, along with countless others- some who will never be named, opened many doors of opportunity for both women and men, and have had a tremendous impact on how communities of color navigate “systems” of inequity. The Black United Fund of Oregon is an organization that places an emphasis on education (experiential and academic) as a catalyst of empowerment that can break generational barriers to success. In our more than 30-years of operation, the organization has always been lead by women therefore it is fitting that this mural would pay tribute to a few of the iconic black women of the civil rights movement. Upholding a beckon of hope for all, these historical women stood alongside our brothers and numerous communities involved in the struggle, just as we still do today.” -Kimberlee Sheng, Executive Director, Black United Fund of Oregon

The Black United Fund of Oregon is the only black-owned, community specific nonprofit that operates and owns its building and property on Alberta Street. The organization’s mission is to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon’s low-income communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups. This mural is a statement and acknowledgement that the Black United Fund of Oregon will continue to champion efforts to break economic barriers for underserved and underrepresented groups.

This project is supported by the Public Arts Murals Program, administered by Regional Arts and Culture Council. A family friendly celebration of the mural will be held on August 8th from 2pm – 5pm at the Black United Fund of Oregon. Kimberlee Sheng (Executive Director of Black United Fund of Oregon), Tiffani Penson (City of Portland, Minority Evaluator Program & Supplier Diversity Officer, and Black United Fund of Oregon Board Member), and Zoe Piliafas (Co-Founder of Vox Siren) will be speaking about the impact of the Black United Fund, the importance of collaboration, and the influence of women