4 different locations
Union Pacific Foundation
Iowa Arts Council
JBS UFCW Local 1149
- Public Art
After an international call for artists was issued, Sasha Reisin of Argentina was selected as the finalist for his expertise in public art and community building projects. Sasha was commissioned to create four murals, located in our underserved neighborhoods, to tell the story of Marshalltown, capturing the unique experiences and dreams of our residents.
WATCH THE VIDEO – Thank you to Austin Chadderdon of Soul or System Photography for sharing your incredibly creative talents to uniquely showcase this amazing project for our community. Thank you to the Community Foundation of Marshall County‘s S.T.E.P. program for helping sponsor this video!
To kick off the project, the artist conducted over a dozen virtual interviews with various community members from both public and private sectors, including social and cultural institutions such as Marshalltown Area United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the City of Marshalltown and Marshalltown Public Library. In addition to the virtual interviews, an online survey was conducted and several local youth programs participated in an art activity, including Bobcat Academy, YMCA/YWCA Day Camp and Bobcat University. The input from the community informed the designs for each of the murals.
The community input highlighted the community’s cultural diversity, which serves as a central theme throughout the project. The community’s input directed the murals to depict the history of the community, the diversity of its people, the resiliency and empathy displayed in the aftermath of the natural disasters and the hopes and dreams of its residents.
Beyond the input that informed the mural designs, the community was also invited to paint meaningful symbols along with Sasha on several of the murals. We had a paint day with each of the three youth camps and a community paint day that was open to the public. The symbols residents painted on the walls showcase their hopes, dreams and what resiliency meant to them following the natural disasters.
- Chapter 1: Diversity, at Child Abuse and Prevention Services – 306 S 17th Ave
- Chapter 2: Resiliency, at Anson Park Shelter – 301 E Anson St
- Chapter 3: Remembrance, at Adland Engraving – 307 Riverside St
- Chapter 4: Dreams, at Woodbury Elementary – 8 N 7th Ave
NEIGHBORHOOD MURAL STORY – Each of the four murals are interconnected, broken into chapters to tell the story of Marshalltown:
CHAPTER 1 – Diversity, located at Child Abuse & Prevention Services (non-profit)
We celebrate the cultural diversity of Marshalltown through the representation of three families gazing hopefully into the horizon. Each family embodies a different cultural background, showcasing the richness of the community. Adding to the scene, graceful monarch butterflies fly around them. These butterflies are a common element in all the designs and symbolize the significant migration that has shaped Marshalltown over the past few decades. By bringing these families and butterflies together, we highlight the diverse tapestry of cultures of our community. It fosters a sense of harmony, understanding, and collective strength.
CHAPTER 2 – Resiliency, located at Anson Park Shelter (City Park)
This chapter focuses on the remarkable resiliency displayed by the community in the aftermath of the tornado and derecho natural disasters. It portrays people coming together, supporting one another as they work diligently to clear debris and repair the damage. The artwork also showcases an abundance of native flora, including shooting star flowers, monarda, and cosmos, representing the natural beauty of the area. The design has many intricate details and vibrant colors. It captivates viewers, compelling them to pause and give their attention to its multitude of elements. Through this powerful artwork, we honor the community’s unwavering spirit, highlighting their collective efforts in overcoming adversity. The inclusion of native flowers further underscores the resilience and beauty that can emerge from challenging circumstances.
CHAPTER 3 – Remembrance, located at Adland Engraving (private business)
This design serves as a tribute to the community’s history. An elderly person sits, holding a house with a fallen tree atop it, symbolizing the impact of the natural disasters. The mural evokes a sense of remembrance, honoring the community’s past, its enduring spirit and the natural beauty that surrounds Marshalltown. The individual portrays a sense of peace and calming. They are embracing and holding onto our past while gazing forward to the future. Similar to the previous design, monarch butterflies surround the central figure. Additionally, a bluebird takes flight, symbolizing the local wildlife. In the background, dynamic line patterns fill the mural, creating a sense of movement and connecting it visually to the other artworks.
CHAPTER 4 – Dreams, located at Woodbury School (Marshalltown School)
The final chapter of the mural series embodies the hopes and dreams of the community, reflecting their aspirations for the future and the elements that ignite their imagination, propelling them towards a brighter tomorrow. The design portrays a diverse group of kids joining hands, creating a powerful visual where a “tornado shape” emerges from their collective interaction. This symbolizes the community’s strength and unity. It includes native wildlife, such as the Goldfinch and a Hummingbird. Adding to the artistic composition, native flowers bring light and beauty to the design. Among them are prairie roses and New England asters, representing the natural flora that flourishes in the region. Finally, hopeful words are incorporated throughout the design. These words are directly from the community from the survey question “Looking to the future, what are your hopes and dreams for Marshalltown? If you could sum up your vision in one word, what would it be?”
Words incorporated in the mural: Growth, Dreams, Joy, Community, Heal, Believe, Marshalltown Strong, Unity, Hopeful, Respect, Prosperity, Destination, Aspire, Unity and Vibrant.
Sasha started practicing street art in 2012 with the group Primo, portraying foreign indigenous cultures. Later, his work developed into focusing on the relationship between public art and its social environment, often in marginalized neighborhoods. In 2017, he co-founded the art collective MUTA (Movement of Urban Transformation & Art), starting with a cultural house in Buenos Aires and then traveling across Latin America, organizing participatory urbanism projects with local communities. Currently, his practice deals with the collective memories and native cosmologies of Latin American heritage, creating shared immersive experiences to reinforce local community connections.
“My mission is to connect with people’s backgrounds, support marginalized groups, and improve public spaces, all in service of communities feeling proud and developing a sense of belonging with their environment. Moreover, my overarching goal is to reduce the existing gap of social inequity by amplifying the voices of minority populations and encouraging the participation of people who have historically lacked opportunities to express themselves.”
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS
- Building Owners: Child Abuse and Prevention Services, Marshalltown Community School District, City of Marshalltown and Adland Engraving
- Tremont Inn for hosting Sasha during his stay in Marshalltown
- Soul or System Photography for creating an amazing video to showcase the process of this project
- Adland Engraving for creating and donating an awesome t-shirt for the project
- Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center for letting us film in the Fisher Art Museum
- News Talk 1230 KFJB AM for hosting the Arts + Culture Alliance and artist on your morning shows
- Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting a community ribbon cutting
- Bobcat Academy, Bobcat University and YMCA/YWCA for letting us engage your students in this project
- Times Republican for highlighting this project on several occasions
- WHO Channel 13 News for running an awesome story on the project
- Community Engagement, Connectedness and Pride
- Infuse Beauty, Vibrancy and Energy into our underserved neighborhoods