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    Signs of the Times

    The protest art and signs of solidarity that have arisen on the streets of New York are an important reminder of the city’s creativity — and compassion. PRIOR asked illustrator Jane Black to put paint to paper, recreating scenes from the street with her delicate brush strokes.

    The streets of New York have always been in a state of rapid evolution, a place where art plays a large role, from graffiti tags to lamp-pole collages to clever tweaks of the wheat-pasted ads that have covered the ever-increasing number of construction sites. In the darkest days of the pandemic and the weeks after the Black Lives Matter protests galvanized and shook downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, artists used the protective plywood that covered storefronts overnight as a radicalized new canvas. Their messages serve as a powerful manifestation of the true soul of the city, a daily reminder that we will build back stronger as soon as we possibly can. We asked the illustrator and designer Jane Black to capture the mood in her cheerful, detailed style inspired by photos taken by PRIOR team members during the past months. While she’s been focusing her watercolors on the city’s interiors as of late, we’re so glad that she fixed her optimistic eye outside. In addition to the street art, she also found a few other signs of hope.

    Pessimism Is an Indulgence.” SoHo. Artist: Anonymous. Source photo by Lois Stavsky.
    “Better Together.” Lafayette Street, SoHo. Artist: @frank_ape. Source photo by Patrick Janelle.
    “A Sign.” Waverly Diner, Greenwich Village. Source photo by David Prior.
    “We Will Dance Again.” JOYCE Theater, Chelsea. Source photo by Will Pollard.
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    The PRIOR editorial team, overseen by David Prior, works together to write and produce stories that inspire curiosity about, and the desire to connect to, places and people across the world.

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