The Riverfront Heritage Trail, stretching along the scenic Missouri River from Berkley Riverfront to River Market, is undergoing a transformation that is adding a splash of color to the concrete canvas that once fell victim to vandalism. 

Port KC, the local government entity overseeing the trail’s maintenance, has embarked on a mural project, enlisting the talents of both local and national artists to breathe life into the previously beige expanse.

The initiative spent thousands not only to deter vandalism but also to create an immersive and uplifting experience for trail enthusiasts. Meredith Hoenes, the Director of Communications for Port KC, emphasized the project’s broader impact.

“Not only will it be educational and inspirational, I think that even when it’s a gloomy winter day, there’s going to be something beautiful and colorful to brighten your day,” said Hoenes to The Kansas City Star. 

The first phase of this ambitious mural series features a lineup of female artists, including Jasmine Ali, whose work was recently featured at the 18th & Vine Arts Festival.

Jasmine Ali at the 18th & Vine Arts festival.

The new murals, which can be admired near the base of the Town of Kansas Bridge, are accessible from West Second Street and Main Street in the River Market area. 

The muralists were commissioned to craft pieces reflecting the natural surroundings and the spirit of the community. The initial murals, ranging from 14 to 42 feet in length, adorn the concrete wall beneath the Town of Kansas Bridge.

Each mural tells a unique story: Ali’s is called “Growth” and features a young Black woman reading with headphones. Her mural is neighbored by an untitled mural by fellow KC-based artist Emily Alzarez draws inspiration from the Missouri River.

Hoenes noted that while the first phase of murals is now complete, the project is set to span multiple years, and PortKC is looking for their next round of muralists.

The mural from KC-based artist Emily Alzarez draws inspiration from the Missouri River.

Art, nature, and community spirit are prominently featured along the Riverfront Heritage Trail, head out for a walk before the weather turns chilly.  

Sadly, the two murals referenced here have been tagged with spray paint. Hoenes says there was a topcoat to protect the murals from vandalism, but the protective layer was a new product that proved defective. PortKC has reached out to the artists to touch up the murals, and they will add a different protective layer once they are restored. 

Despite a protective topcoat and security cameras, some murals were tagged weeks after completion. Something that PortKC is working to address.

Prior to joining The Community Voice, he worked as a reporter & calendar editor with The Pitch, writing instructor with The Kansas City Public Library, and as a contributing food writer for Kansas...

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