New Benton Harbor mural focuses on African Americans, women in tech

A new mural has been unveiled in Benton Harbor. A crowd gathered Thursday outside Ravitron at 276 Colfax Avenue to see the work of artists Jessica Hightower and Eric Bradford for the first time. The two started work on the 90-foot wall on the north side of the building in June. The mural features several figures from the history of technology, and Hightower told us they wanted to pay homage to lesser-known figures in technological advancement.

“We really wanted to showcase people of color and then also women in technology to really encourage the community and young girls to get involved with tech,” Hightower said.

On hand for the unveiling Thursday were Neighbors Organizing Against Racism, the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, and the Benton Harbor Arts Association. That’s because Bradford says the mural is for the whole community.

“This project is not just something for us as local artists where we’re very proud of the fact that we’ve made a huge visual statement because that’s our nature,” Bradford said. “But also, it’s the fact that this project is a catalyst for something bigger with an overall art tour and things like that.”

Bradford and Hightower got some help from young people at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Michigan as they painted. “The History of Technology” is now part of an art tour anyone can take in downtown Benton Harbor as they visit other murals. A QR code is on the building that directs visitors to the other stops.


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