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New Madam C.J. Walker mural, original poem to be painted in downtown Indianapolis

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Posted at 12:48 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 12:48:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Tasha Beckwith's sprawling 100-foot-long art installation inside the Indianapolis International Airport will be reconfigured into a mural on the side of the Martens Building in downtown Indianapolis this fall.

Beckwith's massive Madam Walker Legacy Mural was unveiled at the Indy Airport in February 2021. Ahead of the big reveal last year, she told WRTV, "It took me a long time to come up with the concept given the scope of who the mural was about and also the size of the mural."

At the Indianapolis International Airport, Indy artist Tasha Beckwith created a mural in honor of icon Madam C.J. Walker. The mural reaches 11 feet high and 75 feet wide.

Now, the Indy-based artist is working with the Madam Walker Legacy Center and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail to help turn the temporary installation at the airport into a more long-term piece that will last up to 15 years.

Alongside the mural on the Martens Building, located at 315 N. Senate Ave., will be a custom poem written in dedication to the life and legacy of Madam Walker.

Indiana Humanities and the Indy Arts Council are looking for a Hoosier poet to write the particular poem and accepting applications until midnight on July 24. The selected writer must complete the poem by September 15.

"The new poem should aim to bring fresh context and understanding to the life of Madam Walker, allowing readers to experience the struggles and triumphs of her remarkable story and understand its meaning for today. The poem will be posted alongside the mural, with hopes that visitors to the mural will read and reflect, finding further connection and inspiration in Madam Walker’s life through the written word," Indiana Humanities wrote of what is required of the selected poet.

The poet will receive a $1,000 stipend and likely receive paid speaking and performance opportunities.

The mural and poem are projected to be finished by October.

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WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.