Officers take orders from street artist to paint Liberty City wall with teens

Mural's team effort aims to send community policing message, artist says

By Samantha Bryant - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

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.

Artist Kyle Holbrook shows Miami Mayor Francis Suarez the new mural in Miami's Liberty City.

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 police officers worked with a renowned street artist on a mural with a group of teenagers from Liberty City over the summer.

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. 

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