By Valencia Jones

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Murals of several familiar faces are displayed outside a studio on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. The artist who painted them, Sharanda Wilburn, shared what inspired her to celebrate Black women in leadership and others who have made an impact in Georgia and around the nation.

“I started doing art at eight years old, and it just went from there,” said Wilson, who formally took up the craft in high school. At 36 years old, she’ll tell you her dreams are coming true. “Art is my career. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said.

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The murals celebrate the accomplishments of Black women, including Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams. Wilburn collaborated with another artist to paint a mural of U.S. Representative Lucy McBath. “I just remember at one point we couldn’t vote, we couldn’t read,” said Wilburn, referring to laws violating the civil rights of women. Bottoms recently came to see Wilburn’s mural of her in person. “I was very happy, excited. That would be my third time meeting with her,” Wilburn said.

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Her murals of Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor are tragic reminders of police-involved shootings. “It was my way of protesting and not letting what happened get pushed under the rug,” she said. MARTA stations and billboards have showcased her work around Atlanta. She’s also done a number of celebrity paintings, spotlighting Queen Latifa, David Banner and others.

Beneath each stroke of paint is a solid foundation of God and family, and a way of honoring her mother’s memory. “She inspired me a lot,” said Wilburn.

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She’s making plans for do more for the community, and she says Atlanta can look forward to more murals around town.