News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 19, 2013
New mural program reveals inaugural project on Sept. 24
Mural projects help build community, decrease graffiti and vandalism
The City of Kansas City, Mo., is pleased to announce the Spirit of Community, a new mural program supported by the City’s Gateway Crimes Task Force in partnership with the Municipal Art Commission, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Mattie Rhodes Center, United Missouri Bank and the Kansas City Atheist Coalition.
The Spirit of Community mural program will showcase its debut project, “A Kingdom Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand,” on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Independence and Norton avenues. The project’s design was led by professional artist John “JT” Daniels and apprentices Megan Dux and Sergio Ortiz Vieyra. It depicts the Historic Northeast neighborhood as a cultural melting pot and uses symbolism to illustrate its residents’ unique journeys and the importance of working together to build a strong community.
“The title of the mural, ‘A Kingdom Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand,’ is a reminder to us, the community, that if we cease to work together, then we’re forever doomed to live in a broken state, in constant need of repair,” Daniels said, describing his design.
The mural program aims to provide a hands-on, professional artistic experience for local youth while also creating beautiful art for the public’s enjoyment. Long term, the program hopes to uplift neighborhoods and encourage a sense of community and ownership that will reduce graffiti, vandalism and other common gateway crimes.
“Mural programs and constructive engagement with graffiti artists can channel creative energy toward community betterment,” said City Public Art Administrator Porter Arneill, who provided general oversight on the mural.
The City’s Gateway Crimes Task Force launched a targeted graffiti abatement effort last year that included the creation of a local mural program among its objectives. Other successful Task Force graffiti abatement measures included providing graffiti removal training, lending graffiti removal equipment and chemicals to neighborhood groups, and distributing graffiti abatement informational brochures to the public.
“We truly appreciate the hard work that JT, Megan and Sergio have completed to create a beautiful mural in the Historic Northeast neighborhood, and we look forward to the future murals that the Spirit of Community artists will design,” said Councilman Scott Wagner, chair of the Gateway Crimes Task Force. “Mural programs bring both aesthetic beauty to neighborhoods and a stronger sense of community among residents.”
The City’s Gateway Crimes Task Force aims to stabilize and improve Kansas City’s neighborhoods by addressing activities that are considered gateways to greater criminal involvement, such as graffiti. The task force comprises representatives from law enforcement agencies, the court system, school districts, neighborhood leaders, social service agencies, City Council members and City staff.
For media inquiries or more information about this project, please contact Kimberly Randolph, aide to Councilman Wagner, at 816-513-6503, or Porter Arneill, public art administrator, at 816-513-2538. For more information about the Gateway Crimes Task Force, please visit www.kcmo.org/gateway.