Roeland Park’s 47th Street mural depicting city’s past and present nears completion — here’s a first look

47th Street mural Roeland park

The 47th Street mural in Roeland Park, above, is a work in progress — but organizers say the 311-foot work is on track to be completed by the end of the month. An image of a tree is placed towards the center of the mural, symbolizing the city's slogan, "Uniquely Rooted." Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

The city of Roeland Park is working on a 311-foot mural near the border with Wyandotte County — and it’s on track to be completed by the end of the month.

After years of working toward a community-driven mural, the Roeland Park City Council gave the arts committee the green light, and some funding, for a $36,000 mural on Roe Lane and 47th Street.

Marek Gliniecki, the city’s arts committee co-chair, said the goal is to end up with a colorful, inviting mural with interesting imagery.

Roeland Park mural
One part of the mural, symbolizing community, depicts a house with the same mantra found on a number of Roeland Park yard signs like “Black Lives Matter.”

“It represents the community,” Gliniecki said. “It’s kind of near the edge of our city, so people coming in and out along that route will be able to get a sense of our community through the mural.”

The 47th Street mural features seven themes, as outlined by supervising artist Brittany Noriega from Roeland Park:

  • Pre-history — This theme comes to life with images evoking the Shawnee Tribe, whose land — which they were forced to move to after being forcibly removed from their ancestral homeland in the Ohio River Valley — Roeland Park sits on. Artist Rodrigo Alvarez is handling this portion of the mural.
  • History — Artist Emily Alvarez is working on this portion of the mural, which is on the opposite end, and evokes the historic Strang Line interurban streetcar line that linked Johnson County to Kansas City, Mo., in the early 20th Century and had a stop nearby at 47th and Mission
  • Community and business — Artist Jessica Rogers is working on this portion of the mural. It features a house with sayings from the Neighbors for a Better Roeland Park sign on it such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Science is Real.”
  • Art — Roeland Park likes to promote its public art, and the city has brought many works of art to its public lands such as the “See Red Run” piece in R Park. Artist Allison Bowman is painting the portion of the mural referencing this theme.
  • Family and pets — Artist Isaac Tapia is working on this portion of the mural, which features an image of a family and their pet.
  • Giving back — Artist Sol Anzorena is painting this piece of the mural. This portion will feature a woman gardening to symbolize giving back to the environment. Anzorena is also using entirely eco-friendly materials for this portion, Noriega said.

A large tree is the centerpiece of the 47th Street mural, which is a homage to the city’s mantra: “Uniquely Rooted.” Alex Eickhoff is the artist who painted the tree on the mural.

While planning and design started back in July, Noriega said the team began painting at the beginning of August. The end of September deadline is self-imposed, Noriega said.

Noriega said she thinks the mural is “a great opportunity to bring the community together.”

“It’s a very public project, right,” Noriega said. “Everyone is getting a chance to go see it, talk about it. I just think it’s a great piece to bring us together and start a conversation, especially about some important topics that are happening.”