When did you start working on the project and what was the impetus behind it?
We’ve been working on street art in St. Paul, MN as a research team for over two years. Our project has always been about identifying, documenting, and mapping street art – by which we mean everything from graffiti and tags to stickers, buffs, throw-ups, wheat pastes, murals, and projections (added as part of the database projects). Geographic information systems analysis and ethnographic interviewing have always been a part of our work as well. We started the COVID-19 Street Art Database in April of 2020 when our in-person interviewing had to be shut down because of COVID. Heather, who was one sabbatical at the time, started looking at COVID pieces online and got the idea that we should start a database. She reached out to her networks and to artists and the submissions started to come in. Then, when George Floyd was killed just over a month later, we knew we had to start a database for street art that appeared as part of the racial justice movement. The neighborhood where we had already been doing work, Midway in St. Paul, turned out the be the epicenter of the uprising in St. Paul. We were suddenly seeing art everywhere and it was telling a story that we felt needed to be preserved.