Governor Ivey declared April 11–17 “Embrace Alabama Kids Week,” and communities across the state have stepped up to create a mural to commemorate the occasion.
The week, which is an initiative of statewide nonprofit ministry Embrace Alabama Kids, kicked off April 9 & 10 with community mural painting events in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile. Each city painted a piece of the traveling mural, which would then be assembled in Montgomery beside a new permanent mural. City residents were invited to come out and lend a hand at painting under the guidance of an artist.
On April 14, the traveling mural was assembled and revealed in Montgomery, alongside the new mural in the city. Located at 420 Clay St. adjacent to the Nat King Cole Mural, the mural is dedicated to shine a light on critical issues facing Alabama’s vulnerable children.
Local artists and entrepreneurs from The King’s Canvas and 21 Dreams, including lead muralist Nathaniel Allen, collaborated on the mural installation on a downtown building. Volunteers from the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. were also instrumental in supporting the artists to help complete the project.
“This unique design illustrates the diversity of our families in Alabama and symbolizes hope for a positive future in Montgomery,” says Kalonji Gilchrist of 21 Dreams Arts & Culture.
Headquartered in Montgomery, Embrace Alabama Kids is a 131-year-old faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving vulnerable children, youth and families in Alabama. A ministry of the United Methodist Children’s Home, the organization’s Alabama ministry initiated the mural to mark a new chapter of providing homes, healing and hope as Embrace Alabama Kids.
Each year, more than 28,000 incidents of child abuse, neglect and abandonment are reported to the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Embrace Alabama Kids encourages communities across the state to come together to break this vicious cycle.