Mike Alewitz, American (1951 - )

Mike Alewitz

Alewitz (b. 1951) is an internationally known muralist and activist in the labor movement. A student leader at Kent State University in Ohio, he was a railroad worker, machinist, and sign-painter before earning an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1983.

Mike Alewitz is a well-known mural painter working in the U.S. and internationally. As Artistic Director of the Labor Art and Mural Project (LAMP,) Alewitz has traveled throughout the world creating public art on themes of peace and social justice. He has painted in South-Central LA, New York, Baghdad, Chernobyl, Mexico, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Israel, the Occupied Territories and numerous other locations. In 1999, Alewitz was named a Millennium Artist by the White House Millennium Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. In that capacity he executed a highly publicized series of murals painted in Maryland about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Alewitz has organized cultural initiatives for numerous unions and progressive organizations including the United Mine Workers, Jobs with Justice, Teamsters, Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, United Farm Workers and many others. He has spoken and written extensively on political and cultural topics and is the co-author of Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz. His work has been the subject of several documentary films. Because his work is a voice for working people, he is one of the most censored artists in the world. Alewitz was a student leader at Kent State University and an eyewitness to the murders of four students in 1970. He was a leader of the national student strike that followed the massacre and has remained a life-long activist in movements for social change. A former railroad worker, sign painter and machinist, Alewitz is currently Associate Professor of Art at Central Connecticut State University, where he teaches Mural Painting and Street Art. Alewitz is a member of United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local 829 and the CCSU chapter of AAUP.

TheArtistic Director of the Labor Art and Mural Project, based at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Since the early 1980s, he has painted murals for the United Farm Workers, Local P-9 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Mine Workers Union, and many others. He has painted murals in Nicaragua and Chernobyl, and has been involved in a close collaboration with working-class movements in Mexico.

Recent projects include a giant mural for the Teamsters in Chicago, celebrating the union's successful completion of a strike against United Parcel Service, and the Centralia (Washington) Union Mural Project, memorializing the story of the Centralia Massacre of 1919 and the events and people surrounding it. (Robin K. Dunitz, Street Gallery, Guide to over 1000 Los Angeles Murals).

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