Downtown mural showcases Council Bluffs’ history

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 12:47 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 at 9:37 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A portion of downtown Council Bluffs is getting a makeover.

Peaking through a passage between Main St. and Pearl St. an artist is hard at work.

“This is day nine,” Luis Valle said as he prepared his spray paint cans.

Valle has been an artist all his life.

“Ever since I was a kid, my second-grade teacher told my mom I was going to be an artist," he said.

Born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami, Florida, a project with the Iowa West Foundation Initiative brought the muralist to the Midwest.

“We already have a lot of art and cultural amenities, but we wanted to try and bring some connectivity between them by adding in a few murals at key locations,” Matthew Henkes, VP of grants and initiative with the foundation said.

The area between the library and Bayliss park seemed like a perfect fit.

“We’ve been working with business owners to identify artists and subjects for art that really resonate with them," Henkes said. "And that speaks to southwest Iowa, Council Bluffs, and to the history and culture that’s here.”

That history is the inspiration behind Valle’s nearly 1,000 square foot piece.

“This town was a lot about, a lot of the history had to do with the steamboats and all of that, the rolling hills and obviously the Missouri River," Valle explained.

The owners of the buildings where this piece is being created hope the finished product inspires other downtown businesses to be a part of the initiative.

“We hope there’s a whole bunch more of these in downtown Council Bluffs,” Matt Gronstall, of Availa Bank said.

“It’s going to be something again I think that’s going to be a beautiful critique with color. It’s going to be long-lasting, 15 20 years I believe,” John Paul, owner of Western Iowa Mutual Insurance said.

Valle hopes to have the piece completed on Friday.

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