UMB celebrates 100 years with community mural project, neighborhoods asked to submit applications

By LESLIE COLLINS
Northeast News
December 12, 2012 

As UMB looks back on 100 years of serving Kansas City, it’s not forgetting who helped it succeed – the patrons.

“For almost a century, we’ve believed that who we are is defined by what we do for our communities,” UMB said in a statement. “We want to touch the lives of people around us – that’s our legacy.”

To commemorate it’s 100th anniversary in 2013, UMB is launching a “more than” community mural project and will choose one community in Kansas City, St. Louis and Denver, Colo., to receive a mural. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2012, and an unveiling ceremony will be held on June 1, 2013.

“We’re just trying to do something to help urban neighborhoods combat blight and graffiti and help the community take pride in the neighborhood,” said Malenda Shahane of UMB marketing.

Several years ago, UMB helped the Northeast Community Leadership Action Team secure funding to paint a mural on a building at Askew and St. John Avenue, she said. That building had been a regular target for gang related tags, she said.

“Since the mural has been up, there hasn’t been any graffiti on that building,” Shahane said.

Several of the main criteria UMB will look for in applications will be a willingness of the neighborhood residents to participate in the project, a need for a mural in the community and a desire for the mural to reflect the community.

“It’s something that they really want for their community,” Shahane explained. “We don’t want to go into a community and give them something they’re not asking for or wanting.”

The mural will reflect the “more than” theme, which stems from UMB’s motto, “You can count on more from UMB.”

For neighborhoods, that motto could translate into “more than a neighborhood,” “more than a community garden,” Shahane said.

“It can really be interpreted many ways,” she said. “We don’t want to limit the theme at all. We want it to be very open ended and work with the neighborhood.”

Those welcome to submit applications are community host organizations, including neighborhood organizations, municipalities and community development not-for-profit organizations. UMB will provide the materials and artist to work with the neighborhood to create a design that reflects the neighborhood.

In addition to the unveiling ceremony, UMB will organize a clean-up of the chosen neighborhood prior to the ceremony.

“We hope we get a lot of neighborhoods that apply because we think it’s a great project,” she said. “It’s been proven that creating a mural in blighted areas helps to detract repeat graffiti taggers.”

For more information and to receive an application, email Travis Lavender at travis.lavender@umb.com.

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