Learn about the inspiration and black artists behind these historic 4th Avenue District murals 

4th Avenue District murals
Black Man Self Love by E.L. (Erica) Chislom. (Urban Impact)

The murals lining the streets of lining the streets of Birmingham’s historic 4th Avenue District are not only vibrant and beautiful but are inspired by history, quotes and books. Read on to learn more about the murals and what inspired the artists. 

1. Time To Be True@e_art_hmama

4th Avenue District murals
Time to be True depicts a beautiful colorful image. (Urban Impact)

Time To Be True was created by Avery Harden, an artist and Spelman graduate born in Atlanta, Georgia. She has ties to Birmingham through familial connections. In a historic city like Birmingham, she felt it would be important to marry our present and our future.

“We should continue to carry our past but look towards the future and accept everything the world has to offer us.”

Avery Harden, artist

Where: 1515 5th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

2. The People Can Fly@elcreativ.e

4th Avenue District murals
The faces of this mural are painted with monotonous hues of blue and orange. (Urban Impact)

E.L. (Erica) Chisolm is the artist behind this vibrant mural. She got the vision of The People Can Fly from a Black American picture book written by Virginia Hamilton

Hamilton’s book includes tales of: 

  • Animals
  • Enslaved Africans
  • Fairy tales 
  • Supernatural tales 

In Chisolm’s mural, she challenges the spectator to take flight in spite of their circumstances. 

Where: 1522 4th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

3. Black Man Self Love@elcreativ.e

4th Avenue District murals
Black Man Self Love by E.L. (Erica) Chislom. (Urban Impact)

This mural serves as a celebration and expression of Black Man Self Love painted by E.L. (Erica) Chisolm. It’s inspired by how most men aren’t celebrated until after they have passed away. This mural calls for us to celebrate these men in the present.

Where: 1709 3rd Avenue N, Birmingham, AL 35203

4. Be Kind@elcreativ.e

4th Avenue District murals
Be Kind provides a different outlook on an age old saying. (Urban Impact)

The Be Kind mural is also painted by E.L. (Erica) Chislom. She got the inspiration to create this mural from the statement “Don’t take my kindness for weakness.” This statement is often associated with feelings of betrayal that cause us to stray away from being kind. Chisolm believes kindness is love at its base and everyone can all stand to be more kind. 

“Kindness has never been a weakness. With this mural, I hoped to return strength and respect back to kindness.”

E.L. (Erica) Chislom, artist 

Where: 314 17th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203

5. Knowledge is Power@lydiacherie

4th Avenue District murals
This mural magically portrays the impactful saying of “Knowledge is Power.” (Urban Impact)

Lydia Walker’s inspiration for this mural was inspired by the saying “knowledge is power.” The mural portrays the spirit of knowledge and how it is hidden in plain sight, waiting for you to find it.

“As we continue to align and unfold the truth about our greatness as people of African descent, it is important that we seek out all the things that this society attempts to keep away from us about ourselves. Knowledge is the tool that can build empires. The absence of it incubates ignorance of self and a sense of feeling lost (without pride).” 

Lydia Walker, artist

Where: 1610 4th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203 (rear of the building) 

6. For the Culture@pia_muhihuart

4th Avenue District murals
The “For the Culture” mural shows tattoos in a different perspective. (Urban Impact)

When Pia Muhihu, Kenyan American artist immediately looked into the history of the 4th Avenue District after being chosen to complete a mural within the district. 

Learning that it was, and is, an area full of Black businesses, it inspired them to create something that would honor the past and connect with the younger generation. Pia found that tattoos are sometimes a stigmatized aesthetic and they wanted to show them in a light that honors history, resistance and remembering as a form of resilience. 

“These buildings hold a heavy but beautiful past and I’m glad to be part of the process of revitalizing such a culturally significant area.”

Pia Muhihu, artist 

Where: 312 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203 

Have you visited these murals? Let us know by following and tagging us in your pictures @bhamnow on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

Camille Womack
Camille Womack
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