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Arts and Entertainment

Mural helps in the recovery process at Charlotte Rescue Mission
Local artists join initiative at nonprofit
 
Published Sunday, October 18, 2020
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | LORD PHLY
Artists collaborated on a mural at Charlotte Rescue Mission.

An artist, a musician and a speaker are using creativity to send a message of hope.


Charlotte-based artists Matthew Clayburn, Lord Phly and Jaron Smalls are partnering with Charlotte Rescue Mission, a faith-based addiction recovery organization based in Uptown, for several days of donations and art. The artists will create a mural on the side of Community Matters Café (821 W. 1st St.), which offers Charlotte Rescue Mission recovery program graduates a space to return to the workforce. The collaboration was facilitated by Charlotte is Creative.


Donations will be taken Wednesday through Friday for winter wear (new or gently used hats, coats, scarves, gloves), beverages (ground coffee, bottled water, juice), as well as non-perishable food.


When Clayburn saw Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Instagram, he noticed their sign needed to be repainted or updated. The mission was also interested in adding a mural below the sign. The artists will work on the mural Wednesday through Saturday and include the community in each step of their collaboration.


“We create limitlessly—we see everything as a canvas, so when [Charlotte Rescue Mission] began speaking of the other things they wanted to do, and how they wanted to bring a feel of community and togetherness, it was a no-brainer for us,” Lord Phly said.


Said Sarah Ann Schultz, Charlotte Rescue Mission’s communications and marketing specialist: “We are really emphasizing that we all have a common unity even above all of our differences.”


Community is the priority for the artists. Clayburn and Lord Phly have collaborated on murals from Uptown to Beatties Ford Road and Brookshire Boulevard, each specifically designed to foster community. Lord Phly’s mural at White’s Barbershop in Raleigh was the location for an event with Democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris last month. Clayburn painted the A in Matter in Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter mural on Tryon Street.


Yet this collaboration hits deeper for Smalls, a 2019 UNC Charlotte graduate who personally experienced homelessness. He began working in retail after school, but then his job closed down in November. Around that time his music surpassed 15,000 streams. Offers from independent record labels began coming in, and the Bowie, Maryland native left Charlotte for Atlanta and then Los Angeles. He went from being a funded artist to kicked to the curb. He eventually returned to Charlotte and was forced to sleep in his car for several weeks. He credits his faith with guiding him through.


“This project really hits home for me because I remember a point in time when I was homeless,” Smalls said. “I remember a point in time when I was doing everything right and I didn’t have anything. It took me forever to be able to see the value in myself. It wasn’t until this year where things started turning for me. When this opportunity came with Charlotte Rescue Mission, I really saw it as something beyond myself. More than anything, we are trying to build a community here. This has the potential to be a staple in the city.”

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