NEW ORLEANS (NewsNation Now) — Kyle Holbrook has been creating murals worldwide for over 20 years. Amid the pandemic, he continues to fulfill his life’s ambition of using his art to benefit society.
Holbrook was recently reminded of the effects of gun violence affecting the youth across the country.
“Recently, earlier this year, a mentor of mine who had been an advocate against gun violence for the last 25 years, he lost his grandson to gun violence. I was a mentor for (the grandson), and he was only 15,” Holbrook explained.
Holbrook has personally lost 45 of his friends from childhood to gun violence. He said that this most recent incident was the last straw. He wanted to make a statement on the issue, and that’s why he created a tour to end gun violence. He said he wanted to find a way to connect the country.
In September, Holbrook visited New Orleans as part of his National Stop Gun Violence Tour. That’s where he created his “Peace New Orleans” mural.
The mural was planned months before Hurricane Ida. However, Holbrook decided to continue with the mural in consideration of the importance of the message.
Holbrook has also unveiled murals to bring awareness to the gun violence epidemic in West Palm Beach, Florida, Cleveland, Chicago and Jackson, Mississippi.
Gun violence spiked in 2020, with more than 19,000 people killed in shootings nationwide, according to Gun Violence Archive, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks shootings. That was a 27% increase from 2019, which saw over 15,000 killings.
The murals are meant to be a place of healing for Holbrook and the families of all the victims in remembrance of lost loved ones.
Holbrook wants to educate and unify the country with his art.
The mural in New Orleans is located on 1904 Poydras St., near the “Who Dat Nation Mural,” in order to bring maximum visibility to the message and attention to the New Orleans Arts Community.
Moving Lives of Kids (MLKmural.com) sponsored the Mural.
NewsNation affiliate WGNO contributed to this report.