Picking Up the Pieces
In the days after George Floyd’s death, Kenda Zellner-Smith found her feelings of anger and grief
mirrored in the raw messages on the plywood boards covering store windows in Minneapolis. She also
realized the boards could disappear as quickly as they had been created, and she began a one-woman
effort to save the boards as tools for reflection, education and healing. Having been born and raised in Minneapolis, preserving this moment in time was especially important to her and Kendra founded Save The Boards Minneapolis as a community preservation project. She quickly amassed a large following online, where she documented these efforts with no background in art preservation, or community organizing. Since the start of Save the Board Minneapolis, Zellner-smith alongside community members and volunteers have helped save over 1,000 plywood boards throughout the Twin Cities, and raised over 50k in funds while doing so.
Kenda Zellner-Smith attended Washburn High School. She founded Save the Boards in 2020 as a college student and launched a Go Fund Me campaign to find warehouse space. She has given a TEDx talk in Edina, and was awarded an Ad Council Public Service Award. Today, Zellner-Smith works to activate the boards through public speaking, community events, art exhibitions and more. She is continually looking for resources and donations to support her ongoing efforts to raise awareness about police brutality, and public art as a form of resistance and healing. Outside of her full-time job in Community Education, Kenda continues to preserve the boards and ensure they will continue to educate and heal.