Reddit | jakevanyahres

Artist Turns Crosswalk At Charlottesville Intersection Into Symbol Of Unity

One Charlottesville artist has turned the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed into a work of art to promote unity.

The Charlottesville born artist wanted to change the persepction of the location from one of 'hate' to 'unity'.

Facebook | Jake Van Yahres

Mr. Yahres shared his artwork on social media with the caption: "2 years ago, this intersection in my hometown of Charlottesville became known for hate. Last night I drew the crosswalk into a sign of unity."

The artwork was drawn with chalk, and is supposed to represent people of different background holding hands.

Facebook | Jake Van Yahres

The work has been positively received by local residents, and has been shared by thousands across social media.

Mr. Yahres was living in San Francisco when the Charlottesville attack took place in 2017, but recalled how it impacted him.

Facebook | Jake Van Yahres

Speaking in an interview with CNN, Mr. Yahres explained how he wanted to change perceptions of his hometown:

"That always bugged me, people always assume the worst of Charlottesville. Charlottesville isn't the hate-filled place that it might be associated with.

"I've been looking at that crosswalk for about a year trying to figure out what I could do with it as an artist, like what if we could turn the message around in some way?"

The location that Mr. Yahres chose will be remembered by most as the site of the 2017 Charlottesville car attack.

The Hill

On August 12th 2017, a man drove his car into a crowd of protestors who were peacefully protesting against a Unite the Right rally. The attack left many injured, and Heather Heyer tragically lost her life.

Charlottesville City Council ultimately renamed a section of the street where the attack took place, "Honorary Heather Heyer Way".


Speaing in another interview with WHSV, Mr. Yahres said:

"For me, I don't want this spot to just be known for hate. It can be about where something awful happened, but light can grow."

People took to social media to share their love for Mr. Yahres' design...

Instagram | jvycreations

Mr. Yahres' post was awash with positive feedback, including the likes of:

"Just a passer by... I am so impressed with your work, and I love that you are using your talent to send such positive messages!"

"So amazing. A place that made the news for hate is now being recognized for the love and unity we should all share. You should be proud."

Due to the fact that the artwork is made of chalk, Mr. Yahres encouraged people to, "Go out and see it before it fades!"

Instagram | jvycreations

There have also been calls for the artwork to be made permanent. Comments such as, "Let’s make that permanent, now there’s something to stand for", have flooded social media.

Mr. Yahres said of the possibility of making the artwork long-term, "I would love the opportunity to paint this permanently."

Facebook | Jake Van Yahres

Mr. Yahres went on to tell CNN:

"I'd be happy to make this happen with whoever I need to [...] All I'm trying to do is help out in a small way."

Mr. Yahres describes himself as a "social artist", and produces a lot of politically motivated artwork.

Instagram | jvycreations

Mr. Yahres produced the above stickers and placed them on the floor around San Francisco during the Women's March.

It is unclear yet as to whether Charlottesville City Council will allow the feature to become permanent.

Facebook | Jake Van Yahres

It is good to see artists using their talents and platforms to encourage positive attitudes such as unity at a time of such division.

h/t: Reddit