‘We Are CR’ rallying cry for racial justice inspires new Cedar Rapids mural
New downtown mural celebrates diversity and unity
The new “We Are CR” mural painted by local artist Thomas Clark can be seen on the AdCraft printing building, 309 Fifth Ave. SE, in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Marissa Payne / The Gazette)
CEDAR RAPIDS – “We are CR” was a rallying cry among residents of Cedar Rapids last summer during protests against racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd.
Today, Cedar Rapids artist Thomas Clark brought the spirit of the song to life with a new downtown mural celebrating the city’s diversity.
The mural, located on the side of the AdCraft printing house, 309 Fifth Ave. SE, places the familiar downtown Cedar Rapids skyline around the Tree of Five Seasons sculpture and neighboring buildings in the middle of two hands – one black, one white – that form a heart shape. Red roses bloom next to both hands and a painted purple banner at the top reads “We Are CR”.
For Clark, the mural represents growth, and everyone comes together and flourishes.
“It’s just a mirror of the community and everyone is diverse, obviously,” Clark said. “That’s pretty much what CR stands for. We have people here from all walks of life who all contribute and matter in their community. “
Clark painted the mural with Chad Dozeinear and worked with Cedar Rapids city council member Ashley Vanorny and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Jesse Thoeming to get the green light for the project and finalize the concept.
After three weeks of work, Clark recently completed the mural, but said he has already received a lot of positive feedback from the community. People pulled up while the painting was in progress and have since posted photos with the new mural on social media.
Art is in the eye of the beholder, Clark said, so everyone will look at it differently, but he hopes people will see it as a sign that everyone is welcome to Cedar Rapids. It’s a sign of prosperity over the division following the murder last May of Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis policeman – an incident that has sparked protests calling for police reform across the country.
“A lot of people have been kind of woken up by things they may not have known was going on” regarding the reality of racism in America, “Clark said,” and other people already knew. it’s been going on for a while. It’s nice It’s opened a lot of people’s eyes and started these conversations with people you might not look like or next to you don’t live or just have questions about them and their backgrounds, and you can start those conversations. ”
Turé Morrow, who formed the nonprofit We Are CR last year, said the post of “We Are CR” last summer began to urge people not to tear and riot the city. .
For him, this mural means that the message is spreading and people are starting to accept each other in a more unifying sense, regardless of religion, gender or some other aspect of their identity.
“Cedar Rapids is a complex and diverse community, and we all represent Cedar Rapids as part of this community,” said Morrow.
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