Michael Bushnell

For this week’s Mural Spotlight, we roll down to Independence Avenue and Norton, to the west facing wall of the old Lexington Plumbing building, for a profile of the “A Kingdom Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand.”  Although the mural is over a decade old, the message behind the work is still relevant.

Commissioned in 2013 by The Municipal Arts Commission, Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Mattie Rhodes Center, United Missouri Bank (UMB) and the Kansas City Atheist Coalition, the creative and painting work was accomplished by Local Artist JT Daniels with assistance from Megan Dux and Sergio Ortiz Vieyra.

Daniels reminisced about a moment where he was driving down Independence Avenue and noticed a wall located off Norton Avenue he thought would be a great place for a mural. Six months later, money from a grant came in and he was offered the chance to collaborate with other artists and paint a mural on Independence Avenue– the same wall he had seen previously.

Taking the theme of Spirit of Community to heart and knowing that Historic Northeast is a melting pot, the artists viewed the residents as ambassadors of their native country now living in a new kingdom. “This mural 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,” said Daniels “In order to have a proper kingdom, you have to be united,” he said. “Working together is the best way to stand.”

For two-and-a-half months, the group of three worked on the mural for hours on end and created a mural that represents diversity, showcasing the different faces of Northeast. In the background is a world map and next to the faces of Northeast are “strands” which represent “strands of fate” and how all of our story lines are interconnected, he said.

During the process, the team faced a hiccup when vandals stole a significant amount of paint slated for the mural as well as a city power washer. As a result, the team took a week-long break, but when word spread about the theft, UMB donated $800 to replace the paint and the power washer.

For more information on Daniels and his art, visit: https://www.jtdanielsart.com/