Murals and Their Multifold Identities

819 W Morgan St, Raleigh NC

While the presence of, and passion for street murals can be seen in locations all over the world, it is certainly establishing itself as a substantial part of the city of Raleigh’s identity. So much so that it is not only widely accepted, but is now encouraged within local businesses to partner with artists to showcase their beautiful messages accompanied with impactful messages on their storefronts. This is done through the initiative of the Raleigh Murals Project to provide and alert artists of new opportunities within the community to create in order to celebrate public artwork.

I’ve always admired street murals and art as I found it interesting the different ideas, feelings, and messages that were depicted within a community and how the forms of this manifest themselves. I simply was making my way into a local brewery for a bite to eat with friends in 2018 when I stumbled upon this mural along the side of Trophy Brewery. As the location and size suggest, it was definitely received that this piece was intentional, however, at the time aside from the surface level message through the content, I wasn’t aware of its deeper meaning and purpose until writing this post.

Having not familiarized myself with the legality of street art and graffiti, I began researching when I came across an article containing an image of the this piece that I had simply captured out of admiration. I then discovered that this piece was created in 2016 by artist Kevin Lyons in partnership with the anti-smoking organization Truth in order to raise awareness of their goal that this will be the generation that puts an end to smoking. I also learned that the messages depicted by the animated characters within the mural are actually phrases of empowerment from teens around the country to join the stance against smoking. I appreciate this mural along with many others, not only for the aesthetic and identity they provide, but also for the effect and power that they have.


“Truth x Vans by Kevin Lyons.” Raleigh Murals Project, 16 Oct. 2017,

Porter, Jane. “Is Raleigh Finally Getting Serious about Public Art?” INDY Week, 9 Dec. 2015,

Discussion — 2 Responses

  • Conner Goodall 04/27/2019 on 9:08 AM

    To continue this thought I like how you have mentioned the idea that murals can be used to deliver positive strong messages. I have also found that murals can have this strong message but I can be used to memorialize things or people. There are several instances murals being used in remembrance of people that have lost their lives. In my research I found an article by The New York Post called Graffiti artist paints murals of victims, survivors at the site of the California wildfires. This article looks at Shane Grammer a muralist from-Los Angeles, that went into a old town in California that was burned to the ground and did murals to remember the ones that died. He painted my things including “For another couple, Nicole and Greg Weddig, Grammer painted their 8-year-old daughter, Eleanor, who survived the blaze. He also painted a memorial for 84-year-old Helen Pace, who perished in the Camp Fire, on the wall of her daughter’s scorched home.” This to me connect well with your message of the power of murals and how they can spread a certain message.

    Lapin, Tamar. “Graffiti Artist Paints Murals of Victims, Survivors at the Site of the California Wildfires.” New York Post, New York Post, 13 Feb. 2019,

    • Conner Goodall Conner Goodall 04/27/2019 on 9:50 AM

      My question to add is what is it that give murals such a powerful presence. Is it the art itself or is it the message behind the art.

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