A drab Omaha corner just got brighter thanks to a mural project that involved several local artists, three metal shipping containers and a lot of paint.
Called “The Keeper of Stories,” this mural installation at 12th and Izard Streets was unveiled Friday. It will sit there for the next year in an up-and-coming district north of downtown, part of a $300 million, 50-acre development called Millwork Commons.
Millwork Commons commissioned a public art piece through the nonprofit Amplify Arts.
Amplify Arts works with local organizations and businesses to promote and install public art. Amplify Arts put out a call for local artists and artists with local ties and gave $6,000 grants apiece to three of them: Nicholas Miller, Reggie LeFlore and a woman who goes by her street artist name, norm4eva.
All three artists have backgrounds in mural painting. Miller and norm4eva live in Omaha. LeFlore is from Omaha but currently lives in Minneapolis.
Their canvas was three 500-square-foot containers that, when stacked on top of each other, create a large, 25-foot wall. The brightly colored containers are painted on all sides and show a woman on one and a lion on the other. The point is to convey strength and hope.
Norm4eva, who worked on the project with her partner, Andy Garlock, said she was excited to be a part of “an awesome focal point” downtown, especially in an industrial part of town on the cusp of change.
Annette Smith of Black Dog Management, which is leading Millwork Commons development, said in a statement that artists capture ideas that lead to innovation, and Millwork Commons will be about innovation. Certainly the first big anchor of the development, tech firm Flywheel, embodies that spirit. Flywheel is scheduled to move in in May.
Millwork Commons is roughly bounded by 12th and 14th Streets, Izard and Seward Streets. Those who attended Hutchfest would have been on the development’s easternmost side.