Fundraiser for Schools Sidewalk Safety Murals

Look Both Ways sidewalk mural with an artist finishing up painting

PictureIn an effort to increase the safety for students in Marshalltown, the Arts & Culture Alliance has partnered with the City of Marshalltown and the Marshalltown Community School District to create vibrant sidewalk murals at each of the schools in Marshalltown. In May of 2019, our community tragically lost 8-year-old, Christian Maxon, after being struck by a car while crossing the street after school. We believe the arts provide hope, healing and are a creative way to address and solve community challenges. It is our priority to honor and pay tribute to Christian and his family by increasing safety, awareness, education, beautification and engagement in the arts through this project.

“We believe this is a critical and significant opportunity to address the challenge of street safety in our school zones, while engaging students in a creative and educational way. We are honored to lead this project to pay tribute to Christian and his family,” said Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson.

Last fall the project kicked off with the first mural painted at Franklin Elementary School, the school Christian attended and where the accident took place. Franklin’s mural has a special dedication to Christian including a lightning bolt, representing Flash his favorite super hero, and his favorite color, blue.
Quickly following Franklin, murals were painted at Woodbury and Rogers Elementary before winter struck. There are 11 schools in Marshalltown, including the 9 schools in the Marshalltown Community School District, St. Francis Catholic School and Marshalltown Christian School. Now that spring is upon us, we are working with the remaining 8 schools in Marshalltown.

Ames artist, Lauren Gifford, has graciously granted us copyright of the mural design giving us the opportunity to spread the message throughout the community beyond just the sidewalk murals. We are working with Sign Creations to put the mural design on durable yard signs that will be placed at each of the schools’ busy intersections and crosswalks to share the message to drivers traveling through school zones. The mural design has been translated into Spanish allowing the street signs to appear in both English and Spanish. Thanks to the City’s Street Department, we know there are 90 school zone cross walks throughout Marshalltown.

We are asking for the community to help us support the final stretch of this project. Approximately $6,500 is still needed to complete 4 of the 11 school murals and support the yard signs at each of the school zone crossings. Over $12,000 has already been raised to support this project. We are grateful to partner with Diamond Vogel Paint-Marshalltown, who has donated over 30 gallons of paint for the project. Any additional funds raised beyond the $6,500 needed, will be allocated to the maintenance program which consists of a small team of local artists who have come together to help us do an annual touch up of each sidewalk mural to ensure they stay vibrant and fresh for the students and community.

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the project serves as a powerful way to honor Christian’s life and as a critical safety reminder. “MCSD is very excited to partner with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance on the Sidewalk Mural Project in honor and remembrance of former Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon. It is a step in the right direction of providing more education, support and attention to the critical importance of safe practices for motorists and pedestrians within our community,” Dr. Schutte said.

The mural design and verbiage “Look Both Ways” was selected for many important reasons:

  • It is vibrant and bold – our hope is it literally stops people in their tracks to remember street safety.
  • The phrase is universal to everyone – people of all ages, from children to senior citizens, and people of all ethnicities and abilities.
  • The phrase is applicable to everyone – walkers and drivers, allowing the messaging to be spread community wide.

“I’m hoping this campaign will remind all people to be hyper-vigilant and careful any time they are driving or crossing the street because even if you have the right of way and follow proper safety precautions, there is no guarantee that everyone else will,” said Christian’s mom, Brittany Maxon. “We want to bring awareness to everyone – children, adults, drivers, and pedestrians – anything to prevent another family from suffering our heartbreak. Christian would want that. He loved everyone and would want his loss to help bring awareness and keep others safe.”

To make a tax-deductible donation toward the School Sidewalk Safety Mural Project:
Please make checks out to Arts & Culture Alliance – send to PO BOX 386, Marshalltown, IA, 50158

Online Donations Accepted
*click the donate button and select sidewalk mural project


For more information or questions, please contact us at (641) 752-ARTS (2787) or
Learn more about the project at


Together, with your support, we can create opportunities for a thriving and vibrant community. Make a 100% tax deductible donation* online today.

*The Arts + Culture Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you have any questions, please contact us.