Team Blake’s Guide to the Best Murals in Kansas City
While Kansas City offers a picturesque skyline, there’s so much more the city offers on almost every building wall. Kansas City is home to quite a few unique and Instagram-worthy murals. Whether you’re downtown to partake in First Friday activities or going for an evening stroll through your own neighborhood in the Kansas City metro, there’s your guide to some of the best murals to stop by in KC.
Kansas City I’m So In Love
The perfect background to your next Instagram is located in the Crossroads at 2010 McGee St, Kansas City, MO. This piece was originally painted to accompany the locally-owned clothing store Fortuity. While the store moved on to its new location inside Array in Town Center Plaza, the mural still stands tall, allowing out of towners and staycationers a place to snap a picture. More recently a new addition has been added to the mural that includes a small cartoon head saying “Imagine that.”
Sike Style at Tom’s Town Distillery
While the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t able to bring home the back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 2020, they did help give us this 1,600-square-foot mural, painted by Phil Shafer. Shafer worked directly with the Chiefs marketing team to pick out the best poses to fit the gigantic space. The outrageously red art piece named “Sike Style” features Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Tyrann Mathieu. Located on the South wall of Tom’s Town Distillery, this mural isn’t the only one you can find in the same parking lot!
The People are Thirsty at Tom’s Town Distillery
Before the giant depictions of Chiefs players took over the space, Tom’s Town Distllery’s wall featured just one mural. Designed by Kevin Cantrell Studio, the gorgeous, Gatsby-era 30 foot wall mural can be found right next to Sike Style. This mural features lettering and style similar to all of Tom’s Town’s signage. Art and a local distillery? What more could you ask for?
Just a short walk across the street from Tom’s Town Distillery and you can gaze upon the large and bold #KC Loves mural located at the top of the parking lot at 1720 Main, KC, MO. The mural was created and painted by the collective KC Loves. Full of passionate entrepreneurs, oddball culture-makers, as-yet unknown inventors and problem solvers, this group has members that have contributed to a few of Kansas City’s most-loved murals.
Love Kansas City
The Love Kansas City mural located at Southwest Blvd. and Broadway stretches across three different walls. Created by the graffiti artist known as Scribe, this local favorite features icons and personalities throughout the letters. Oftentimes, the parking lot (where the mural is located) is occupied by visitors using the space as a photo opportunity or even sometimes a backdrop for music videos!
The Maker Mural
This mural located just to the west of I-35 is a culmination of local Kansas City artists and designers. Taking a closer peek at this mural located at 2601 Madison Ave., you may notice some familiar fonts and designs made famous by Charlie Hustle and Made in KC. This whopping 112 ft. tall mural includes artwork by Rif Raf Giraffe, Ami Ayers Harrington, Ocean & Sea, Karrie Dean, Flint & Field, Charlie Hustle, Ampersand Design Studio, Emily Reinhardt & Grace Cantril.
Alexander Austin’s Power & Light Murals
The next two murals on the list are hard to miss when taking a trip down to the Power & Light District for a night on the town. Both painted by Kansas City’s own Alexander Austin, these pieces of artwork honor Black athletes and entertainers. The first piece, commissioned in 2008, faces Truman Road and the South Loop freeway. This 18,000 sq. ft. mural, pays homage to the Negro Leagues and the 18th and Vine area. In 2017, when Two Light was being constructed many noticed that Austin’s original mural, while large, was being covered by the new apartment’s massive structure. This observation gave way to Austin’s second colossal mural downtown.
The Cordish Companies, owners of both the Power & Light entertainment district and Two Light, hired Austin to highlight more of his work on a portion of the new apartment tower. This second Alexander Austin mural boasts 175 ft. of artwork honoring the greats of the Negro League, includign Jackie Robinson. This mural faces North towards the entertainment district and can be admired best from inside No Other Pub or from County Road Ice House’s street patio.
John “Buck” O’Neil Mural
Power and Light isn’t the only place you’ll find murals honoring the Negro Leagues and its legendary players. Standing tall on the side of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center (BOERC) at 19th and the newly renamed MLK Boulevard you’ll find Alexander Austin’s John “Buck” O’Neil mural. This mural finds its home just a short walk from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Before becoming the BOERC, this building was a YMCA and the first civic center in Kansas City built to serve the African American community.
Some murals in this city are even inspired by other murals! That’s the case with this cute Brookside-themed postcard mural painted by Ruthie Ozonoff in 2018. The artist was commissioned by First Washington Realty, which owns the commercial space. Ruthie, a Brookside native, said she took some inspiration from the “Kansas City I’m So In Love” mural to help create her design. If you’re making a trip down to Brookside, make sure to stop by and snap a picture in front of the postcard located at the corner of Warnall and Brookside Blvd.
Facing the Past, Looking to the Future
The perfect place to finish your Kansas City mural tour is with this bright and colorful mural at 751 Minnesota Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas. This piece, by Directing Artists Jose Faus and Alisha Gambino, was part of the Avenue of Murals Project featuring eight different murals along Minnesota Avenue. Each mural celebrates and highlights the different cultures and communities found in Kansas City, KS. This mural, in particular, named Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: A Kansas Hmong Storycloth represents both modern and traditional Hmong culture with images of work, play, and celebration.