The artist selections for this year’s Northeast Chamber of Commerce summer mural project were announced at the Northeast Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 25.
The murals chosen are “3 Roosters” by Zac Laman, “Past, Present and Future of the Northeast” by Armando Mesa and “Blue Scroll” by Rachael Cross and Dalton Elliot.
The theme of the project is “Past, Present and Future of the Northeast.” The Northeast Chamber of Commerce received four mural boards and two digital mock-up submissions.
The community engaged in the project and left more than 70 comments and more than 200 votes on the mural board submissions.
The Northeast Chamber of Commerce is in the process of choosing the locations for the murals, said Northeast Chamber Intern David Tamez.
Instead of announcing the locations, their goal is for the community to watch for the artists painting the murals in the nearby neighborhoods starting July 15.
“I think it would be a nice little surprise when people actually see it being painted and find out through that way rather than us announcing it in a formal way,” Tamez said.
Laman said he chose to paint roosters because they symbolize courage in Mexican culture and good luck in Christian traditions.
Roosters also remind him of the Northeast, he said, because when he first moved to the Northeast, his neighbors had six roosters.
People have told him that roosters remind them of the Northeast, too, because they have seen roosters wandering around.
“They mean good things to a lot of people here in the Northeast and you can see each rooster is different, so it’s diverse just like the Northeast.” Laman said. “I wanted to make a stark, beautiful image and I think when you blow up small birds on a large scale, something about that is really powerful.”
Mesa incorporated the Independence Avenue street sign, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, a restaurant, a steel worker, a waitress, a football player and a family into his mural design.
“I just really wanted to paint some of the buildings and people that have made our community what it is and that are shaping it right now and will shape it in the future,” Mesa said.
Cross said she and Elliot will not begin painting their mural until August. She said one aspect that draws her eye in a neighborhood is a hand-crafted sign, so she’s excited that their mural was chosen.
“I wanted to create something where the shadows cast on the letters could represent the theme, so it’s got two different types of shadows: a drop shadow behind the letter and a cast shadow which represents the future,” Cross said. “It’s as fancy as you can probably represent a very literal interpretation of Northeast.”
People were drawn to these murals because the color choices are calming and welcoming, Tamez said.
Community members said “3 Roosters” is striking in the way the contrast makes the roosters stand out, “Past, Present and Future of the Northeast” represents the Northeast well, and “Blue Scroll” is a good mural to take a photo in front of and it’s welcoming in not just the words but the colors and presentation, he said.
Tamez said he is proud and excited that each artist lives in the Northeast.
“These are Northeast artists that are showing you what kind of work is being done around here and what sort of talent is here,” Tamez said. “I think that’s something people coming here can get an experience of when it comes to these murals. They’re not just seeing art in the Northeast—they’re seeing Northeast art.”