Dutchtown Intersection Mural Project
In 2015-16 Dutchtown South Community Corporation coordinated the design and installation of a unique public art project in Dutchtown, in South St. Louis City. Four local artists created vibrant designs reflecting important aspects of Dutchtown's history. The designs are installed at key intersections as "traffic calming" murals. Printed in a professional grade thermoplastic pavement street marking, the designs will last 6-8 times longer than regular traffic paint. This material has only been used in a handful of cases around the world for public art installation. The project was fully funded through a grant from the Community Development Administration of the City of St. Louis via HUD.
The designs, locations and descriptions from the featured artists are listed below:
About the artist
Dail Chambers is a mother, visual and community artist. Her work is strongly influenced by the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham, and Alice Walker. Chambers focuses on the migration of American black women and creatives through ethnographic, genealogical and biographical research. Her art is a testament of personal and political progress captured in sculpture, installation and creative writing.
In the published book, Itshanapa, the artist adopts a public moniker. The name and title embody a mythological story of the search for identity while digging up the life of her maternal grandmother. This is a place-based project that moves through generations of Saint Louis discovery. The book and artwork from this project is an example of the Akan philosophy of Sankofa, which means to” reach back and get.”
About the work - S. Compton Ave. and Gasconade St.
We are like trees. Not only is each species unique and varied, but each branch, twig, and leaf. In this public piece, I depicted a tree with varying gestures as the bark and branches. The multicolored sections are a hint towards the different aspects of diversity that we intersect with on a day to day basis. Diversity is natural, progressive and fun!
I am a mother, artist and community creative who has lived in South Saint Louis for seven years. It has been a joy to see the expression of people in the many facets of day to day life. Some of the most inspirational places are our parks and neighborhoods, including Dutchtown.
About the artist
Kevin McCoy is a multi-disciplinary artist from St. Louis MO. He studied at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis where he earned a BFA in graphic communication in 2004. Kevin utilizes experimental illustrations, color, and composition to communicate his continuous observation on beauty, form, and function. All of his work remains cohesive by incorporating a minimalistic aesthetic.
About the work – Meramec St. and Ohio Ave.
St. Louis has been home to many Natives that built amazing earthen structures that were found on both sides of the Mississippi River. I have always been fond of these structures and since most have either been leveled for land development or turned into landfills, I felt the innate need to bring back the honor and respect they deserve. St. Louis was once nicknamed "Mound City" back in the 1870s and these mounds served as temples and burial sites to the Natives. As of today, the few mounds left standing are those in Cahokia, IL and Sugarloaf mound located off Highway 55. My goal was to create a motif that can serve as a reminder of what once was.
About the Artist
Chelsea Marie Ritter-Soronen is a chalk artist, muralist, and illustrator. She is inspired by big blank spaces and the potential that they hold to become a canvas for significant art pieces and travels the world searching for them. Her illustrations and street art are heavily based on machine imagery, often blending elements of aged trains and rusty gears with bright monochrome color palettes. Additionally, Ms. Ritter-Soronen works in multiple art styles and genres, including realistic landscapes, portraiture, and anamorphic "3D" designs in urban environments. She strongly believes that chalk art is capable of sparking a public art revolution in St. Louis and beyond.
Ms. Ritter-Soronen graduated from the Conservatory of Fine Arts at Webster University in 2008, with a BFA in Theater and majors in costume design and scene painting. While she has been painting murals since 2003
About the Work - Virginia Ave. and Meramec St.
Much of my illustration work is focused on the dynamic motion of mechanical gears and wheels, and it is quite pertinent and applicable to the Dutchtown neighborhood. My design includes several types of wheels that track the history of Dutchtown’s evolution:
- A wheel from a St. Louis streetcar
- Gears from the Missouri Pacific Railroad trains
- A modern bicycle wheel
- A vintage road car wheel from Dad’s Cookies
Together, these wheels rotate and grind to propel Dutchtown forward. We, as St. Louisans, have much to owe to the people that operated the various machines supported by these wheels! Dad’s Cookies in Dutchtown has a unique immigrant story and an unwavering commitment to quality and consistency that has kept them in business for over a century. The Missouri Pacific Railroad trains to the west of Dutchtown rumble all day and night carrying necessary items along the railroad veins of our city, effectively connecting us to the rest of the country. Streetcars such as the Jefferson Gravois car served as a basis for public transportation accompanying a vision for an overall greater city. The modern bicycle wheel brings it all together, as a hope for the future of increased public transportation and safer bike lanes. When we pay homage to these many machines, we are also paying homage to the people that drive them, repair them, invent them, and lay down their tracks and roads. The many wheels of transportation are what unites our expansive city, represented in the past, present, and future of Dutchtown.
About the Artist
Lizzy Martinez is a St. Louis based artist who works in a variety of media and has a great love for our fair city and the history that accompanies every neighborhood and district. Her work spans across the disciplines of fine arts, design, illustration, education, and community outreach. She has worked, studied, and exhibited in the United States and Ireland. Recently completing an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center with help from a fellowship award and a grant from Regional Arts Center, she has her sights set on a future of more residencies, grants opportunities, exhibitions, and publication of illustrations for magazines and children’s’ literature.
About the Work – Gustine Ave. and Dunnica Ave.
After researching the history and using local archives to survey period farming practices and dress, Lizzy created a detailed design on the subject of Dutchtown’s early farming history depicting two scenes joined by a bright, clear sky to take advantage of the multiple directions travelers can experience a mural within an intersection. Much editing and revision were done to stretch a simple color-palette to its fullest possibilities of a realist landscape inhabited by hardworking men, women, and livestock while balancing the needs of the thermoplastic material of construction. Contributing to the local character and hoping to bring joy and reflection to the public by daily interaction with art is very much in keeping with the artist’s values. She is thankful for the opportunity provided by the Dutchtown South Community Corporation to leave this mark on the street of her hometown.