In partnership with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., six teen artists from WMCAT painted murals on utility boxes in the downtown core to honor public figures with a commitment to social justice.

Damian working Jimi Hendrix mural at Division and Weston.

The teens worked with WMCAT Teaching Artist George Eberhardt to develop and create five mini murals on downtown utility boxes. Working through a design thinking process, the team learned that community members wanted to see public work that would inspire and uplift. They also discovered there were very few, if any, public murals that served as tributes to inspirational heroes.

Students, who are receiving a stipend, sketched, planned and painted throughout the summer, completing the murals August 21. Locations for the five murals are:

  • Monroe Center and Ionia: subject is Frida Kahlo
  • Monroe Center and Division: subject is Maya Angelou
  • Fulton and Sheldon: subject is Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Fulton and LaGrave: subject is Ghandi
  • Division and Weston: subject is Jimi Hendrix

Jimia prepping the Frida Kahlo mural at Monroe Ctr. and Ionia

The teen artists, all students from Grand Rapids Public Schools who have participated in WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech Program are: Viviana Farfan, 16; Chris Harris, 16; John Newton, 15; Onemia Simmons, 17; Jimia Williams, 17; and Damian Wilson,16.