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Black-inspired art coming to Iowa City, city staff planning one as well

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - Along with demands to reform the city's police department and hire more people of color, the Iowa Freedom Riders asked the city for another thing in June: more Black art.

City staff for Neighborhood and Development Services say they've been talking to local artists and the Black community on this for about a month but some other artists just couldn't wait.

Robert Moore, from Des Moines, came to Iowa City in late June to paint "Reciprocal of Humanity," which can now be seen on North Linn Street on the north side of the Market House apartment building.

It shows a Sudanese woman and an African-American woman, looking out over the city with doves flying over their heads.

"An homage to my grandmother, an homage to Black women. Just, representing and uplifting the most underrepresented minority group which is Black women," Moore said.

Moore and his partner debuted the mural to the Iowa Freedom Riders on July 4th during a weekend protest.

The city has now also chosen a canvas for its project, the south side of the Capitol Mall parking ramp along Burlington Street in the heart of downtown.

"It's important -number one- to acknowledge what we've experienced this summer and also to memorialize it," Marcia Bollinger said, liaison to the Public Art Advisory Board.

The content or design of the mural hasn't been released yet but it'll go on the enclosed indoor staircase and be roughly five stories tall. The budget for the project is over $42,000.

Twelve thousand dollars has been raised by various community groups and the advisory board is pledging $30,000 from its project fund.

Bollinger says they're working closely with the Iowa Freedom Riders, the Center for Afrofuturist studies and Public Space 1 on the project.

It's slated to be completed this fall.


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