First-time muralist makes big impact

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

When artist Armando Mesa, a Historic Northeast native, started the massive piece of art on the west side of the old Aaron’s Rental building in the 4800 block of Independence Avenue, the goal was to portray the diversity of the Historic Northeast community as well as paying homage to the area’s rich history.

The finished product, entitled “Independence Avenue, past, present, and future” does just that and is Mesa’s first large-scale mural work.

“Northeast is a super eclectic neighborhood and I wanted to put in buildings and people that were significant and represented the community,” said Mesa.

The work is part of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Northeast Summer Mural project and is one of three murals commissioned last May on National Mural Day.

“Murals are an excellent way to show the vitality of a community and act as an incredible economic development generator,” said Bobbi Baker-Hughes, president of the Chamber and manager of the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District.

“We’re extremely lucky to have some very talented artists who call the Historic Northeast home and have shared their talents with our community.”

Three muralists were chosen last May to produce large-scale works along the Independence Avenue corridor including Zachary Laman, Rachael Cross and Dalton Elliot, and Mesa.

These artists were chosen from a field of five artists to paint murals depicting their vision of the past, present, and future of Independence Avenue.

Laman’s mural, “Three Roosters,” was completed first, painted on the east side of the Chamber’s Economic Growth Gallery (EGG) at Independence and Chestnut.

Building surface issues delayed the start of both Mesa’s mural and that of Rachael Cross and Dalton Elliott, whose mural is slated for the east side of the Aaron’s Rental building.

Work on that mural is almost complete and should be installed, weather permitting, prior to the end of the year.

Mesa’s work pays homage to the Northeast High School Vikings mascot with the image of a Vikings football player on the right side of the mural along with an image of the old Villa Capri restaurant sign that once stood on the south side of Independence Avenue just east of Independence and Prospect.

“I spent some time talking with my dad’s barber, Joe Belgiere, down on St. John who told me I needed to have something from the old neighborhood in the mural,” Mesa said.

In the center of the mural is the Aztec sun that signifies the large Latino presence in Northeast.

“The Hispanic population is what makes the community what it is now,” he noted. “It’s a big part of present day Northeast.”

To the right in the mural a bi-racial couple can be seen holding a newborn child, which Mesa said depicts the rich diversity of the Historic Northeast community.

A last-minute addition to the woman’s shirt is the number 15 in yellow and orange, an obvious nod to Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“Everybody was walking by telling me I had to put Pat in there so I had to throw a 15 in there somewhere.”

Being Mesa’s first mural, he said he was pleased with the constant positive feedback on the project.

“It was a fun project and I’m glad I got this opportunity,” he said. “People walking by were always complimenting me, people driving by and honking at me, it was just an awesome experience.”

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Fatal fire under 1-70 bridge closes center lane indefinitely

    14 hours ago

    By Michael Bushnell The westbound lanes of I-70 closed at 18th Street just before the Benton curve on January 13 […]

    KCMO debuts storage cart pilot program

    14 hours ago

    By Abby Hoover Elected officials, city leaders and community partners introduced a new storage cart pilot program for houseless residents […]

    Yasmeen Café serves up traditional favorites

    14 hours ago

    By Abby Hoover Abdul Hatimi starts his day in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for the variety of customers who will […]

    Kansas City Museum announces new board leadership, funding

    January 18th, 2022

    The Kansas City Museum is excited to announce additions to board leadership, new funding & exciting next steps. Nearly three […]

    Police investigate suspicious death on Saida

    January 17th, 2022

    On person is dead following a Sunday night shooting in the 5500 block of Saida. Just before 11 p.m., Kansas […]

    Shooting victim crashes at 12th and Topping

    January 17th, 2022

    This morning at 1:45 a.m., Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers were called to East 12th St. and Topping Avenue […]

    Fatal homeless camp fire shuts down I-70

    January 13th, 2022

    The westbound Lanes of I-70 closed at 18th Street, just before the Benton curve, due to a fatality homeless fire […]

    Police Alert

    January 12th, 2022

    UPDATE!!!!! Maryland was able to get out of the vehicle and make his way home. Officers continue to speak with […]

  • Library plans service opportunity for MLK Day 2022

    January 12th, 2022

    Kansas City residents have the chance to step up and serve as volunteers on the annual Martin Luther King Jr. […]

    Eagle carving takes flight

    January 12th, 2022

    As you drive along where Ewing Avenue intersects with East 17th Street, you may do a double take – is […]

    Show Me KC Schools comes home to Northeast

    January 12th, 2022

    Show Me KC Schools, a group helping families find the best fit for their students’ education, is relocating to Northeast […]

    LEC, RevEd support Latinx community in education

    January 12th, 2022

    Latinx education professionals are working hard to change the education outcomes of Latinx students in Kansas City by increasing and […]

    MO DHSS adds COVID testing sites in KC

    January 11th, 2022

    Due to the increase in demand for COVID-19 testing, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and partners have […]

    One dead in Truman Road crash

    January 7th, 2022

    A serious injury collision on Thursday at Truman Road and Askew Avenue left one person dead. Emergency crews responded to […]

    KCPD seeks suspect who killed mother of two in crash

    January 7th, 2022

    Investigators are asking for the public’s helps to locate Arnold L. King, who is wanted for killing a mother of […]

    Mayor to propose resumption of school mask requirement

    January 6th, 2022

    At this afternoon’s City Council Business Session, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas will propose resuming the school mask requirement. “Given […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Remember This?

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.