Courtesy of Danny Hurley

Arts & Entertainment

The Photographer Who Chronicled Downtown’s Protest Murals

Danny Hurley felt it important to record the Black Lives Matter murals that cropped up downtown.

During the first weekend of protests after the killing of George Floyd, storefronts in downtown and Deep Ellum were boarded up with plywood following a violent Friday night that ended in millions of dollars worth of property damage.

In the ensuing days, Dallas artists arrived to decorate them, painting pictures ranging from George Floyd himself to images calling for equality. After a muralist friend mentioned the Black Lives Matter-related murals, Danny Hurley decided to photograph the collection. Much of his work had been canceled due to the pandemic. This subject gave him plenty of material to spend time with.

“I thought it would be about a dozen and it turned out to be more than a hundred,” he says.

As an architectural photography professor at Collin College, he noticed something missing in most photos of the art: the wider context.

“They would do close-up shots of their work but not the framework around it,” he says. “My goal was again to make it an architectural representation of the art and not just a snapshot of it.”

Hurley teamed up with The Dallas Army of Artists, which helped catalogue the paintings through its Facebook group. The undertaking turned into a large-scale project, one that continues even today as he posts his photos on his Facebook page.

“My thought is let’s stretch this out,” he says. Every third day he interviews an artist, and includes the interview with his Facebook post. As for the murals themselves, you can see them for yourself at the Deep Ellum Art Company. The music venue, gallery, and bar is displaying the murals through October 17.

“I’m trying to bring healing to the community,” Hurley says. “Let’s bring love, let’s bring joy.”

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