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The Kansas City Murals created some of the best and most visible Kansas City street art! During the Midwest Travel Network 2023 conference, I took a walking tour of the murals during my visit to KCK. While Kansas City, MO, also hosts many murals, this post focuses on the Kansas side of the river. You may also hear Kansas City referred to as the City of Fountains, but that’s another topic if I get back here. Here’s a link back to the overview post for the trip.
- Kansas City Murals – KC Street art
- Let’s look at several Kansas City Murals
- Summary of the tour … And the murals
Kansas City Murals – KC Street art
The KCK murals show the rich cultural diversity of Kansas City, Kansas (KCK). Looking for how many large murals turned up several different totals of them. By some counts, around 18 currently exist. But there are smaller murals in different parts of the city. The Avenue of Murals included eight of them in a four-block area of Minnesota Avenue. However, looking at the entire metro area, you find over 200 murals!
The mural above, located at 1207 N 7th Street, named the Dawning of a New Day, honors the importance of generations, family, and culture in the African-American Community.
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Joe Faus and Alisha Gambino created the mural in 2004. Kansas Arts Commission and Bank Midwest sponsored the artwork. As mentioned above, this mural honors the importance of generations, family, and culture in the African American community. The lefthand side of the mural emphasizes cultural legacy. Also, the middle features the seven principles of Kwanzaa and shows hope for the children and the future. Then the righthand side mirrors an urban African American skyline.
“Dawning of a New Day” is located on the north wall of the Frank Williams Outreach Center, a facility providing a number of services to the local homeless community.
Let’s look at several Kansas City Murals
Again, there are many murals in both Missouri and Kansas; I’m providing you with information about six of them. They are a great addition to the city and a source of pride to Kansas Citians. And here’s the link to more information on the murals.
El Baile De La Vida – Kansas City Murals
The El Baile De La Vida mural, a tribute to Mexican folkloric dancing, portrays dancers in vivid color costumes from 19 different Mexican States.
The mural includes familiar Mexican images, including La Virgen de Guadalupe, skeletons from Day of the Dead celebrations, and the Mexican Coat of Arms. A folkloric youth instructor and parents with young children at nearby Douglass Elementary helped design the mural.
Want to see a shop for my road trip photos? You can have them printed as wall art or puzzles. They also work on coffee mugs, t-shirts and more! So, take a look. Maybe you'll see something you will like!
Another great one to visit on the Kansas City Murals tour! This one ties in well with the Taco Tour. And who doesn’t love a great taco?
Up and Down Round and Round
Of course, this mural represents the racial diversity in Kansas City.
So, let’s read a snippet about it!
Inspired by the life stories of a senior citizen writing class at the Shepherd Center, high school students created the design for this mural that depicts the up-and-down unpredictability of life.
Certainly, I hope the students learned more about the “lives and times” of senior citizens!
Next, we’ll get into a bit about work-life in Kansas City. Like everything else in life, technology nearly rendered printers obsolete!
If you have comments about how technology grew during your lifetime, click on “Contact” above and drop me a note.
The Kansan Printer mural shows a style of WPA murals and includes a printer at a hand press. Retired printers helped design the mural. They worked at the Kansas City Kansan newspaper.
The mural honors the printers and the history of the building that housed this community newspaper for 80-plus years in the heart of downtown.
Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: A Kansas Hmong Storycloth
Meanwhile, let’s continue reading about and viewing pictures of more diversity in Kansas City.
Patterned after an embroidered Hmong story cloth, this mural represents modern and traditional Hmong culture through mirror images of work, play, and celebration.
Traditional stitched patterns inspire the border design around the outside edges. The dominant colors of the mural are blue, common to story cloths, and green, for the lush green landscapes of Hmong villages.
Avenue Chronicles – A Century of Progress and Life on Minnesota Avenue
Above, the entire mural (which is a flat wall, not curved!), represents a century on Minnesota Avenue. The close-up on the left shows one section of the above mural.
The entire mural presents scenes from the area, formerly the retail and commercial heart of Kansas City, KS. High school students conceived the entire design after studying pictures of the history and talking with community leaders.
Then the entire design is woven together like a filmstrip in honor of the reopening of the Granada Theater in the summer of 2006. The mural includes various cameras and vantage points. A movie camera on the left, a news camera around the 1951 flood, and, in the final scene, the artist with his phone camera. Additionally, the mural includes portraits of the youth artists who worked on the mural.
Wyandot Echoes – Ensuring the Conley Sister’s Inclusion in Kansas City Murals
I missed this one on our tour of Kansas City Murals. So this picture comes from out of a tour bus window!
However, this smaller mural still includes a long, sad story about the forced migration of the Wyandot Nation.
Consequently, in July 1843, hundreds of nation members forcibly left Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario. Eventually, they came to “Indian Country,” where they received land. In spite of great difficulty, they built a prosperous town that grew into modern-day Kansas City, KS. The Wyandots are the namesakes of the county, and their cemetery sits in the middle of downtown.
The mural represents two migrations. First, the Wyandots’ journey from Ontario to Ohio, then to Kansas and Oklahoma. Second, a spiritual journey back to the past, gaining strength from memory and ancestries. The Conley sisters represent the second journey, whose fight to preserve the cemetery went all the way to the Supreme Court in the early 20th century. Here’s more about the cemetery.
Summary of the tour … And the murals
Kansas City is rightfully proud of its murals. The depiction of the cultures and the history of the city come through loud and clear for all the see. When you get to Kansas City, the murals are well worth the time you spend viewing them. And the city hopes you visit them soon!
Classic Rock Recollection
“Vincent” by Don McLean
Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy, linen land
Written by Don McLean (Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh)