Murals and More unveils new Cedar Rapids skywalk mural by AKACORLEONE

The official ribbon cutting for the new mural by AKACORLEONE. — photo courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

A small crowd gathered for the unveiling of a big mural in downtown Cedar Rapids on Monday evening. Murals and More, which is steadily creating the Cedar Rapids Mural Trail, dedicated the organization’s first mural of 2017 on the east side of the skywalk on Third Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.

Riffing on Cedar Rapids’ “City of Five Seasons” slogan, Portuguese artist Pedro Campiche, who works under the name AKACORLEONE, has created an eye-catching mural centered on the words “Five Seasons.”

“I just hope you like my artwork and it portrays the city,” Campiche said in a brief statement during the ceremony.

Artist Pedro Campiche, who works under the name AKACORLEONE, poses with the scissors during the ribbon cutting for his mural in Cedar Rapids. — photo courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

In an interview a few days before the unveiling, Murals and More board member Aly High spoke about the ongoing efforts of the organization.

“Everyone on the board is on it because we’re passionate about art and about beautifying Cedar Rapids,” High said. “The overarching goal [of the Cedar Rapids Mural Trail] is to promote tourism, but if we can beautify Cedar Rapids for the citizens, I consider it a success.”

The new mural is both attractive and puzzling. There is, for example, a mountain range depicted, which is somewhat out of keeping with the Cedar Rapids environs. The face in the middle of the mural appears to be “speaking” an image of a heart, complete with aortas, which morphs into a brick wall that might be sitting in a puddle. In the middle of the heart, a single eye peers out. Perhaps it’s a suggestion that here in the heart of the city, we see that we still need flood protection. Or perhaps not.

With its bright colors and open-to-interpretation iconography, the new mural will likely be popular with passersby.

High hopes that this mural, as well as the others in place and to come, will lead to new kinds of experiences downtown. She images parents taking children on walks to see the murals and folks using the art as backdrops for selfies.

“We want to change people’s routines,” she says, “and encourage people to interact with the city in a new way.”

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