By Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio
A new mural in Sioux City celebrates Hispanic heritage in northwest Iowa.
The brightly colored mural depicts the dancers from Ballet Folklórico Estrellas de Jalisco, a group of local Hispanic folk dancers. The artist, David Manzanares, moved to the Midwest from Oaxaca, Mexico. He said he’s excited for the opportunity for immigrants and Indigenous people like him to be celebrated in art.
“You see many Hispanic people here,” Manzanares said. “We are here, but we are maybe not at the front. So, that’s a big part of what the mural is. It’s bringing visibility to us.”
The mural on West 7th Street was completed last week. It’s the third in a series of public art investments to celebrate the street’s history of being home to diverse communities.
Neighborhood services manager Jill Wanderscheid said it’s a way to build community pride in the neighborhood’s rich past.
“It’s had such a long history of just being welcoming to new business owners and a lot of locally owned businesses on that street. It’s been welcoming to different immigrants and those that are new to our country,” she said.
In the last several years, millions of dollars have been invested in the corridor, in street reconstruction and facade improvement programs.
Wanderscheid said the investment by the city will continue – as the city has already secured a grant from the Gilchrist Foundation for another mural. The upcoming street art project will focus on the area’s music history and relationship with jazz.
Manzanares’ art is visible from Hamilton Boulevard. The Omaha native said he’s eager to see more projects like his pop up across the Midwest.
“I hope there’s more projects that depict the diversity that exists in this city, and that you get to see and we get to share,” he said.