116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Two Maryland artists have worked on two murals in the Time Check neighborhood, beautifying one of the areas in town that was hit hardest by the 2008 flood.
Muralists Jeff Huntington and Julia Gibb of Jahru Studio, from Annapolis, Maryland, worked on the murals in the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Ellis Boulevard NW in the Time Check neighborhood.
The first of the pair is along the north wall of newly built residential row housing at 1125 Ellis Blvd. NW. The mural features an abstracted depiction of the Iowa state bird, the goldfinch.
“We’re honored to be a part of such a positive and creative revitalization effort that embraces public art,” Huntington said in a news release. “The Cedar Rapids community has overwhelmed us with their vision, support and hospitality. Getting to know the city has been such a pleasure.”
The residential neighborhood was one of the hardest-hit by rising Cedar River waters in the 2008 flood, which destroyed many homes — leaving behind empty lots and an opportunity to rebuild.
“We’re hoping these murals will serve as a beautiful and uplifting focal point for residents and visitors in the neighborhood,” Nick Ludwig, chair of the nonprofit Murals & More that is coordinating the projects, said in a statement. “Public art is one way to create something unique, something you can’t see anywhere else, and contributes to the identity of the neighborhood.”
The second mural is across the street at Mirrorbox Theatre’s new location at 1200 Ellis Blvd. NW, which previously housed Chirp’s auto service. The theater is slated to open by the fall.
The mural takes up the entire west-facing exterior back wall of the theater and features a mirrored portraiture with inspiration derived from comedy and tragedy.
Cavan Hallman, founder and producing artistic director for Mirrorbox Theatre, in a statement said artwork is welcome in the new phase of the building and thanked those whose support made the project possible.
“Jeff and Julia’s portfolio of work is stunning, and that Mirrorbox gets to provide a canvas for their next project is the coolest,” Hallman said.
David Maier and Matt McGrane of Cedar Rapids contributed the majority of funding. Additional support comes from OFB LLC, the ownership group developing both properties. Murals & More, a Cedar Rapids nonprofit dedicated to public art, is coordinating the projects.
“We’re proud to support these projects and the performance arts that will take place at Mirrorbox for years to come,” Maier said. “Public art is one of the most engaging ways to create something beautiful that everyone can enjoy.”
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