Artist shares messages of solidarity on boarded storefronts amid protests

As local business owners in Chicago continue to cover their windows with plywood to protect their storefronts during citywide protests, one artist is using them to spread messages of solidarity.

"It's easy to feel helpless sometimes, and that's not an option right now," artist Nina Tiberi Sawica said. "This is one small way that I felt I could contribute to a world that's really hurting right now."

Sawica got the idea from a friend and immediately put a plea out on social media, asking if any local businesses wanted to spread positivity and support through the wooden boards covering their shops.

The first business to respond was The Taste of New York Bakery in Boystown.

"We take pride in spreading love, peace and unity," the shop said in a statement. "This pandemic taught us how to pause and learn from one another. We should listen and support each other."

Sawica's friend, Kelly Daily, joined he to paint and show her support.

"It's a message that needs to be shared, so we're just trying to put it in a place where people will see it and spread some positivity," Daily said. "We need to work together to be better. That's basically what we're trying to say here, support the Black Lives Matter movement and make sure that people area aware and see resources on how to help and that we're all here for each other."

"No matter the color of your skin, race, gender. I think it's important that you take the time out of your personal bubble and express that you're here to help whoever is in your community," volunteer and painter Jory Harland added.