The NEKC Chamber is partnering with a local artist to bring communities together 

Ellen Beshuk
Freelance Reporter

  A group of seven neighborhoods in Historic Northeast can submit their selection for new portable murals sponsored by the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce as part of their annual Summer Mural Program.

local artist Frederick Crawford

  These murals will be painted by local artist Frederick Crawford on metal 55-gallon barrels. 

Rather than be used as trash cans, Events Director of the Northeast Chamber Rebecca Koop hopes they will serve as artworks that will unite the community. Each barrel will have a lid that can also be painted to coordinate with the selected design.

“It’s going to be more of a small, portable monument,” Koop said. “Instead of another wall, it will be up to the neighborhood how they use them, what will be on them and where in the neighborhood boundaries they will be placed.” 

Koop sees this project as a chance to extend the mural project into the neighborhoods instead of being concentrated solely on Independence Avenue, which will also see another new mural taking shape this summer.

The chosen figures can be anyone of significance to each neighborhood, specifically historical figures, or collage of multiple persons. The portraits may also be done in full-color or black-and-white. 

  As a muralist and caricature artist, Crawford’s work can be seen at local venues like the Economic Growth Gallery pop up events and Sala De Arte and often depicts local Kansas Citians and Chief’s football players. He recently completed a similar project depicting local jazz musicians for the 18th & Vine Jazz District.

  The qualifying neighborhoods are Scarritt Renaissance, Pendleton Heights, Indian Mound, Lykins, Independence Plaza, Sheffield, and Columbus Park. Submissions should be made by April 12 to Koop and the mural barrels will be placed by the end of Fall 2024. 

  The NEKC Chamber hopes this project will unite Northeast neighborhoods while giving recognition to important figures in the community’s history. 

 For any questions about this project or any of the current and planned Independence Avenue murals, please contact Rebecca Koop at 816-231-3312, ext. 101.