In the USA

So now I’m going to have to allow more cuteness into my aesthetic range than I usually do, so that I can say yes to Mary Engelbreit and no to the people who said no to her.

St. Louis artist Mary Engelbreit‘s work typically epitomizes “non-controversial” art: She makes comforting cartoon illustrations of apple-cheeked children, often accompanied by cheerful slogans about friendship and family. She has a large and devoted following, both for her art and for Engelbreit-branded products of various types, and she is an official inductee in the St. Louis Walk of Fame. These are not normal times, however, and when Engelbreit posted an image on her Facebook page on Tuesday in response to the current unrest rocking the St. Louis-area town of Ferguson, a section of her fan-base turned on her.

The print in question, called In the USA, depicts an African-American mother and child, in Engelbreit’s signature orbicular style, contemplating a newspaper that reads “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot.” Floating text reads, “No One Should Have to Teach Their Children This In The USA.” The print was priced at $49.99, with all proceeds going to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, which supports the family of Michael Brown, the Missouri teenager who was gunned down by police two weeks ago. “[T]hese events unfolding now in my hometown and across the country, shining a light on the ugly racism that still runs rampant in our country, made me think that maybe this drawing could help in some small way,” wrote Engelbreit in her post.

Photo: When situations turn horrible and I find it hard to move on, I usually draw my way through it. These drawing hardly ever see the light of day, since they're really just a form of therapy for me. But these events unfolding now in my hometown and across the country , shining a light on the ugly racism that still runs rampant in our country, made me think that maybe this drawing could help in some small way. While it's not a cheerful little picture you'd want to hang over the sofa, you might know of a school or an office or a police station that could use it. All proceeds from the sale of this print will go to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund. It will be available in 2 days, only from my website, As soon as it's ready, I'll put the official link on this page.

But what happened? A lot of malevolent people left malevolent comments, and Facebook took down her post. Fortunately it has now restored it.

Here’s a public Facebook post she did an hour ago:

So far, we’ve raised almost $25k for the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund!! I can’t thank you guys enough for your support and for sharing the image on your pages and in your profile pictures– I could not have done this without you!

Let’s keep it going! You can order the print online at:

And if this print isn’t really your cup of tea, you can always send your contributions directly to:

The Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund
c/o Lesley McSpadden
P.O. Box 52011
St. Louis, MO 63160


  1. Seth says

    So pictures of dead women with strings of virulent, misogynist comments are A-OK in Zuckerburg’s paradise…but an innocuous saccharine portrait of frustration with racism is verboten. Got it.

  2. Al Dente says

    Well done to Engelbreit for her efforts to raise consciousness about racism and for her support of the Michael Brown fund.

  3. quixote says

    Saccharine? I don’t know. I guess I’m hopelessly lowbrow, but it feels to me like the benevolent non-controversialness of the style sharpens the message in this case.

  4. shari says

    art win. Thank you for posting this, Ophelia. It’s nice to see the people who ARE trying to do something for Ferguson, and for equality. Your burden is typically having to highlight all that is anti to justice. This is cool.

  5. resident_alien says

    It’s a very sweet, very touching and very sad picture.
    I actually like this type of art because it is honest. Yes, it is emotionally manipulative, but at least it is honest about that and doesn’t try to bullshit you with hoity-toity pretentiousness.
    What is supposed to be so offensive about it?
    That it presents black people as human beings with human emotions and attachments?

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