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Additions to Plaza mural keep messages of hope, unity from 2020 alive

Plaza Mural 2021.JPG
Posted at 6:12 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 07:12:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the 2021 Plaza Art Fair came to a close Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri, the Country Club Plaza was left with a new, permanent piece of art.

Over the past month, 10 artists have spray-painted murals on the south side of the old Plaza Parkway Building near Mill Creek Parkway and 46th Terrace.

Springfield, Missouri-based artist Meg Wagler wrote, “We’re all in this together,” in her portion of the mural.

“Whether we like it or not, we’re all connected and I think we have to work together with any issue, whether it’s COVID or whatever the next thing is to come along, race relations, all of the issues we’re seeing swirl around constantly,” Wagler said. “I think if we’re honest about being connected, we’ll be able to find solutions a little bit faster and a little bit easier.”

The idea to cover the building in murals came during the summer of 2020 when demonstrators reacting to the murder of George Floyd sprayed the empty building with graffiti. Instead of getting mad, the building’s owners, who are represented by Block and Company, decided to bring in professionals to finish where the demonstrators left off.

“The owners of the building felt it was an excellent time to let the local artists, and artists throughout the Midwest, show their expressions of the present times and we used the building as that canvas,” explained David Block, president of Block and Company.

Block partnered with non-profit Spray KC to hire artists and cover the costs of the mural. Artists completed the east side of the building in 2020. This September they completed the south side. Next year, they’ll add murals to the west side of the building. The north side is not as visible.

“I think things like public art have a way, like a backdoor into your mind, that uplift the human experience whether you realize it or not,” explained Vince Sanders, founder of Spray KC and American Shaman CBD.

Wagler hopes the mural in the prominent part of Kansas City forces people who see the artwork to feel unity and turn that feeling into action.

“If I can get them to talk about it, and use messaging that is provocative or thoughtful, that is all I care about,” Wagler said.

Here’s a list of artists who contributed to the 2021 mural project:

  • Tad & Jessica Carpenter - Kansas City, MO
  • Isaac Tapia & Rico Alvarez "IT-RA" - Kansas City, MO
  • Meg Wagler - Springfield, MO
  • Peat "Eyez" Wollaeger - St. Louis, MO
  • Kendall Rose & Anna Charney - Denver, CO
  • Thomas "Detour" Evans - Denver, CO
  • Ally Grim - Denver, CO