Growing murals transform KC neighborhoods

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In Kansas City's historic northeast neighborhood, a vacant building is now coming to life thanks in part to the work of artists like Héctor Casanova. 

"There are so many open parking lots and abandoned buildings. There is too much gray already," he said. 

Casanova is one of several artists participating in a new initiative. The goal is to transform empty walls into vibrant murals. 

"It's like CPR for a blighted neighborhood," said Casanova. "It can really reinvigorate it." 

In the Crossroads, Jason Harrington is also working to bring more murals into the area. 

While the neighborhood does not have the blight like the Northeast, Harrington hopes it will become a destination for art, similar to neighborhoods in Miami and Los Angeles. 

"We don't have the mountains or the ocean or anything so we have always kind of embraced culture as an identity for our city," he said. 

To help accomplish this goal, Harrington is preparing for his SpraySeeMO festival, which invites street artists from around the country to Kansas City to create murals on buildings in the Crossroads. The buildings' owners have already signed off on the artwork. 

The festival begins Thursday and goes into the weekend. 

"Hopefully everyone can just kind of experience these walls and experience what these arts can do and be inspired by greatness," said Harrington.

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