February 9, 2009

Lewis and Clark Mural - Kansas City, MO

I had set out to find the garment district and see the very large needle and button, similar to the ones in New York City but not as big or well known. I never did find them. After taking a wrong turn, I was stuck on Highway 169 for four miles until I finally found an exit that would take me back to the city. Then I took another wrong turn and ended up at the Missouri River. Turning around I ended up going the wrong way down a one way street. When I finally got myself back on track I was nearly hit by a woman who thought a stop sign was a suggestion. Or maybe it was just a really important phone call she was taking.

Just as I was stopped at a red light and about to give up, I saw the giant Lewis and Clark Mural. I couldn't help but laugh. Artistically, it was not particularly impressive. There are numerous murals throughout Kansas City, my particular favorite is the one on Grand and Truman commemorating the first African-Americans to play baseball. But I stopped to take a closer look anyway. Unfortunately, I parked next to a couple just recovering from the throws of passion in the car next to me. Why they were doing it in a parking lot at 4:30 in the afternoon, I have no idea. But they didn't ask why I was taking pictures of a wall and I didn't ask why they didn't get a hotel room.

The mural is on the corner of 5th and Wyandotte in the River Market neighborhood. I found out later is was commissioned by the owners of the River City Antique Mall, which it is on the side of, and was dedicated as part of the Lewis and Clark commemoration in 2004. Local artists Alisha Gambino, Jesus Ortiz and Joe Faus painted it. As for its historical accuracy, I'm not sure there's much I can say. I don't know much about Lewis and Clark beyond the basics. I know it's not one of the most interesting or visually stunning murals. But I'm counting it all as a personal win because I didn't drive into the river and I found a roadside attraction I never knew was there.

Time Spent: 1 hour
Distance Traveled: 30 miles
Soundtrack: Throwing Muses "The Real Ramona"

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