FOR THE RECORD

Graffiti Mural Begins Anew at Central Campus

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
A student works on the recreation of the Urban Leadership program's graffiti art mural on a flood wall along the Raccoon River.

A student works on the recreation of the Urban Leadership program’s graffiti art mural on a flood wall along the Raccoon River.

If you’ve ever lost some work to a computer crash you know the feeling, right? It’s like you were almost finished painting a mural on a wall; a big, 200’x10’ mural; and suddenly it gets erased. Where else can you go except back to the proverbial drawing board?

And that’s where the student-artists from the Urban Leadership program at Central Campus went Wednesday morning, determined to restore the work of public art that got blotted out by a communications breakdown between school and city officials recently.

Talk about making an effort to get to class. School buses only get you so far. Once you get off at Central Campus you have to go around back, walk through the hole where the chain link fence at the south edge of the grounds has been peeled back, jump a couple of mud puddles and follow the railroad tracks that parallel the river for about a quarter of a mile to get back to this drawing board. The path is rocky. But the concrete “canvas” is smooth.

“Those who say it can’t be…” reads the outline of a quote by poet James Baldwin that will go on to say “…done are usually interrupted by others doing it,” when it’s finished.

Gabriel Pecina was flown back in from Arizona for the massive do-over and Wednesday morning he was in charge of the crew of students who were doing most of the doing over. Some of them wore masks and sprayed their colors. Others used rollers on extension poles and stood on buckets or tiptoes to reach the top of the wall.

Pecina, 24, has collaborated with lead artist Asphate on other projects in Des Moines, including a courtyard mural at Harding Middle School, but he never saw anything quite like this when he was in high school.

“Oh no, I never got to do anything like this in art class,” he said. “This is really going to be beautiful.”

It already is in terms of raised consciousness and community support, even before the second coat is finished.

Video of Work on the Graffiti Mural

Photos of Work on the Graffiti Mural

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