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Leon Rainbow's "We Are Survivors" Mural

originally published: 08/29/2020

Leon Rainbow

(TRENTON, NJ) -- Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, graffiti artists around the world have been using their powerful form of expression to brighten our streets with thought-provoking imagery. It took only one restless night of sleep to inspire Trenton’s Leon “Rain” Rainbow to do the same. 

“When the crisis first started, like many, I was scared. The concept for the original ‘We are Survivors’ mural just popped into my head one night,” recalls Rainbow, one of the region’s preeminent graffiti artists whose voluminous portfolio of work can be found on streets and buildings throughout New Jersey’s state capital. 

“Suddenly we had to make all these changes to our lives that were necessary but uncomfortable. I was grateful to have an outlet.”

That initial mural, a bold response to the coronavirus crisis, can be found near the intersection of Hudson and Clinton Streets. Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) was so moved by the wall that they stepped in to  sponsor the creation of two more, made possible with continued funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and NJM Insurance. 

“We are incredibly grateful to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for extending their support that allows us to promote community-based arts initiatives,” says Meaghan Singletary, Development and Project Manager for TDA. 

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Rainbow’s work combines graffiti, street art and other artistic forms into innovative projects and events and speaks to a wide audience on so many levels.

“Art is not a hobby or a career for me. It is a passion, a need, how I express myself and deal with life,” says Rainbow. “We will survive (the coronavirus). We have shown that we can adapt.” The message he hopes his murals ultimately convey is that there will be a brighter tomorrow. 

You can see “We Are Survivors” at the intersection of Hudson and Clinton Streets in Trenton. TDA will be hosting an unveiling of Rainbow’s second mural in the series, sometime this fall, at the Sprout School of the Arts. 

The theme for the second mural is top of mind on every parent’s mind these days: the state of education in the age of COVID. It will illustrate the blending of arts and technology as we adapt to teaching and learning in the current climate. 

“By continuing this effort, we can encourage the ever-thriving creative community within Trenton to spread a message of strength and resiliency outward,” adds Singletary.

The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the capital city a more competitive location for business owners and an engaging center for workers, residents and visitors. Since 1986, TDA has offered programs that promote economic growth and investment in New Jersey’s capital city. Our staff is involved in business recruitment and retention, public relations, advocacy, marketing support, referrals, partnership development and job creation. TDA also hosts events like the Capital City Farmers’ Market, the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series and Patriots Week to attract visitors to experience the current growth happening in the downtown. Through maintenance of a clean and safe commercial district, support for the arts and cultural heritage, promotion and public policy planning, the Trenton Downtown Association is leading the revitalization of the City of Trenton.



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