116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Friends of Noelridge fundraising for second greenhouse mural in Cedar Rapids
Mural theme will highlight benefits of native species
If you go
What: Noelridge Greenhouse
Where: 4900 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids
When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 7 a.m. to noon Thursday
Contact: (319) 286-5762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CEDAR RAPIDS — Local nonprofit Friends of Noelridge is fundraising to add another mural highlighting the beauty and benefits of native species to the Noelridge greenhouse.
After completing the first mural last July, the volunteer-run nonprofit is looking to secure funds to add another mural in the coming months to the space facing northwest on Council Street and Collins Road NE.
The organization does work year-round — offering tours inside the greenhouse, for instance, especially January through May. These murals are an effort to raise public awareness of the facility and park, the benefits of native species and pollinators such as monarchs and the importance of supporting the ecosystem in general, said Mary Moore, president of Friends of Noelridge.
Each year, the greenhouse grows between 40,000 and 64,000 flowers and plants that get planted at public spaces, including parks, golf courses, The Eastern Iowa Airport and in planters downtown. It is operated by the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department.
People may visit the conservatory that houses tropical plants and is open every weekday for people to walk through or sit and have lunch.
“We wanted to identify the building better, identify the entrance better, just draw attention to the greenhouse and what we do there,” Moore said.
The first mural features a hummingbird, a hand holding a monarch and a variety of plants. Moore said the group is looking to continue on efforts in the first mural to emphasize native plants and pollinators, with the addition in the mural of oak trees, native flowers, acorns, insects and birds.
In the second mural design, children can be seen kneeling in the grass to explore insects and working with others to plant a tree. Moore envisions this as a starting point for tours of the greenhouse.
The two-phase process started in January 2022. Minneapolis-based artist Jordyn Brennan, who worked on the first phase, also will work on the second mural. Brennan was selected from about 22 artists who applied to a request for proposals.
Friends of Noelridge is looking to raise another $8,000 to meet its goal of $23,000 to complete the second mural, Moore said. So far, money has been raised through donations from local businesses and from the public to the greenhouse, especially from Easter and Mother’s Day showcases.
How to support the mural
To donate or volunteer, visit friendsofnoelridge.com or facebook.com/friendsofnoelridge. You also may write Friends of Noelridge, Noelridge Greenhouse, 4900 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, or send a donation to Noelridge Greenhouse at 4900 Council St. NE.
The city of Cedar Rapids’ Public Art Commission reviewed the preliminary mural design earlier this month and supported the concept.
The timeline to finish the mural depends on fundraising, Moore said. She hopes it can be done by this fall but it may not be finalized until spring 2024.
The public’s response to the first mural on the nondescript building was “unbelievable,” Moore said, helping to draw attention to the greenhouse that many Cedar Rapids residents and visitors aren’t aware even exists.
“The feedback from the public was, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so beautiful,’” Moore said. “ … We have found that people are taking graduation, birthday, wedding, family reunion pictures in front of the mural.”
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