LIBERTY CITY, Fla. - Street artist Kyle Holbrook lost several childhood friends to gang violence. He was raised in Pittsburgh where turf wars terrorized his Wilkinsburg neighborhood.
The former graffiti writer became a young father and studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He used art to deal with grief and became known for his murals. He has taken his work to London, Detroit, Uganda, Haiti and Brazil, and he established a presence in Miami's Wynwood.
Most recently, Miami police officers took orders from him, as he directed them to work with a team of teenagers from the Liberty City Trust's Youth Employment Program. Their colorful mural, which they worked on over the summer, is meant to promote community policing.
"With all the things going on around the country, I think a relationship between the community and police officers could change things for the future " Holbrook said.
The "Moving Lives of Kids" mural shows children playing with officers and it' is on a long wall on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Miami's Liberty City.
Their work is part of Holbrook's Moving the Lives of Kids Mural Project, a nonprofit organization he started in 2002, and it was sponsored by the Pinnacle Housing Group, which has a program to promote art in public places.
Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said Miami Police Department's Commander Kendra Simmons had the "incredible idea" for the mural, and said that although walls are usually built to separate us, the mural on this wall is promoting a message of unity.
"The objective here today is to give people motivation and hope, to let our children express themselves," Suarez said while standing next to a smiley MPD Chief Jorge Colina. "If you look at this mural there are expressions of love, of positivity, there are reminders of the good things that are happening in our community."
Drivers can check out the long mural starting at the Miami Police Department's North District Substation at 1000 NW 62nd Street.
Want to check out the new mural? Come by our North District Substation at 1000 NW 62nd Street to see the great work these kids have done. 👍😎 Special thanks to the Art Director Kal from MLK Mural, Liberty City Trust for getting the kids involved and Pinnacle Housing Group for sponsoring the project. 🙌🤜🤛 #communitypolicing #miamiart #cityofmiami
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