Reflecting the City in Art: New Murals Bring Color and Perspective to Downtown

Oct 18, 2021

NEVERCREW Mural Rendering in Downtown Cedar Rapids

ConnectCR is a grassroots effort that started as two separate projects—the revitalization of Cedar Lake and the construction of a trail/pedestrian bridge to link the east and west sides of the Cedar River along the core districts of Czech Village and NewBo. Part of the Downtown Vision Plan is to support the completion of ConnectCR in its entirety, and also to create a distinguishable pathway between the two pillars of this momentous public-private partnership. In 2019 the Downtown SSMID Commission took an initial step to do that with the creation of the American Discovery Trail mural by Greene Square. This mural spotlights the trail system that connects our country from east to west, from Delaware to California, with a big part of that nationwide trail going right through our backyard in Downtown.

A crucial component of creating a unique and world class experience for pedestrians, bicyclists, and the like is adding more art, modernized lighting, and other tangible additions to the 4th Street trail. To that end, in January 2020, the Downtown SSMID Commission decided to take another step by adding a mural that celebrates the ConnectCR project and one that is located equidistant between the lake and the bridge. The Downtown team worked with Murals & More on a global RFP/call for artists. Thirteen submissions were received and the City’s Visual Arts Commission (VAC) reviewed the top three proposals. The VAC picked a concept presented by street artists who call themselves NEVERCREW. Work on this mural is now scheduled to begin this month. The goal of this mural is to shine a light on the ConnectCR project while also serving as a beacon for similar collaborative efforts in the future that can move our community forward.

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