Spill paint not blood: Kansas City artists aim to end violence with mural

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Put down the guns and pick up paint brushes. That's one metro artist's solution to the country's racial tensions and violence.

"We can sit here beside one another and create something wonderful, create some good music, laugh and joke together - it doesn't all have to be serious and it doesn't all have to be bad news," said local artist Michael Toombs.

Toombs created the larger than life mural called "Harmony on the Vine." And blacks, whites and every shade in between splashed it with bright reds, verdant greens and all hues of blues.

"Everyone can come out and have communion and that communion is in spirit and in enjoyment and in love," said Toombs.

And while this mural won't fix all the nation's problems, Toombs said it's a start.

"It was important for us to be a part of the solution," said Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the American Jazz Museum executive director. "We feel that art is important in bringing people together -- especially jazz. Jazz was always an integrator; it brought people together."

Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com.

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