Renowned Latino artists chosen for new downtown Moline mural

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Artists Gera “GERALUZ” Lozano and Jari “WERC” Alvarez.
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By Jonathan Turner, OurQuadCities.com

Work began Tuesday, Oct. 17, on a new $30,000 public mural on the side of 1405 5th Ave., Moline.

The Moline Public Art Commission and Quad City Arts announced that Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artists Jari “WERC” Alvarez and Gera “GERALUZ” Lozano were chosen for a transformative public art project that will breathe new life into the heart of the community.

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WERC and GERALUZ started by projecting the design on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 17. The new mural is expected to be done by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 25th at 4:30 p.m. with an artist reception to follow inside Analog Pizza and Arcade.

“Quad City Arts has done a fantastic job attracting some of the country’s best muralists to bid on this project, and we couldn’t be happier with the piece that was chosen,” Analog co-owner Dan Bush said.

WERC working on the mural in Downtown Moline on the morning of Sunday, October 22, 2023.
Photo by Tar Macias / Hola America

“It is bold and forward thinking, setting the tone for Moline Centre’s bright and prosperous future. This mural will be the first of many that will change the cultural landscape of the area for years to come.”

Over 150 artist submissions were received from all over the U.S., according to the commission.

“This exciting addition to the mural collection in Moline contributes to the well-being and vibrancy of the community, fostering cultural richness, and creating spaces that engage, educate, and inspire both residents and visitors,” the Tuesday announcement said.

“By incorporating public art into the fabric of our city, we strive to enhance the quality of life and promote Moline as a thriving cultural destination. Additionally, murals by non-local artists introduce a diversity of artistic styles and can attract attention on a broader scale, potentially drawing tourists and art enthusiasts to the area,” the release said.

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WERC and GERALUZ collaborated on this mural in Dubuque, IA in 2018, “America Needs a Hug.”

“This increased visibility can boost the city’s reputation as a destination for art and culture,” the commission said. “The Moline Public Art Commission is excited to have secured these artists with exceptional talent for this monumental project. Werc and Geraluz have the ability to transcend cultural boundaries and provoke dialogue through their art.

“Their work also aligns with the Moline Public Art Commission’s vision of fostering a more vibrant and culturally inclusive community,” the group said.

The paintable surface of the Analog building’s west wall is approximately 110 feet long and 22 feet tall, but the entire surface of the wall does not need to be painted. The artists are responsible for suppling their own paint and materials.

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“We are thrilled to see Moline continue to embrace the power of public art,” Quad City Arts executive director Kevin Maynard said Tuesday. “This mural not only beautifies the community but also helps to foster a deeper sense of unity, creativity, and cultural pride among our residents. We cannot wait for everyone to see the finished product.”

This is the commission’s first public art mural since it was formed in late 2021, and the commission is excited to provide additional mural and art opportunities throughout the city of Moline, including both local and non-local artists as placemaking plans continue to develop, the release said.

Artist backgrounds

Gera Lozano was born in the Amazon jungle of Peru and was raised in Newark, N.J. from the age of 9. She has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in New Genres.

Lozano is a conceptual artist based out of Brooklyn, N.Y. Using photos, video, artist books, and public art in her process, Lozano’s practice intentionally beautifies and brings to light both sacred patterns and the patterns woven into our social fabric, according to her bio.

Both her studio and public artwork carry the energy of cultures’ dreams, that transform the ethnography and the current zeitgeist into abstract geometric designs. GERALUZ, as she is also known in the street art world, projects designs of living cultures that reflect the energetic fields of optical perception.

Lozano‘s artwork has been funded by the Creative Work Fund, the Zellerbach Foundation, the NEA; and is part of the Smithsonian American Art Archives. GERA’s public artwork can be seen throughout the Americas, in collaboration with agencies such as The Washington State Arts Commission, The New York City Department of Transportation, The New York City Economic Corporation, The Trust for Public Land, The Municipality of Asuncion Paraguay, City of El Paso Museum Cultural Affairs Department, Sun Metro Rapid Transit System, Lower East Side Partnership, The Rockefeller Group & Creative Art Works.

For more information, visit her website HERE.

Artists Jari “WERC” Alvarez and Gera “GERALUZ” Lozano

Jari WERC Alvarez was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Tex. It is on this border where it all began for WERC; 21 years ago, he became part of the graffiti movement and began his artistic career. WERC’s work is an aggregate of culture, symbols, graffiti, and design.

WERC’s work brings wonder into the urban environment with a free-flowing aesthetic, inspired by the dream-like nature of surrealism and grounded in geometry. WERC explores the balance in the aspects of duality and the politics of identity and believes art can weave communities’ thoughts and aspirations.

WERC’s is a public artist currently based out of New York who paints murals throughout the world; His studio-based works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, such as Musée de Aquitaine, MCASD, CAMLA, MOM, and are part of the Getty’s special collections, the Smithsonian American Art Archives & the Cheech Marin Chicano Art Collection.

WERC has participated in several mural festivals and initiatives such as the UK’s See No Evil 2012, MX Color Walk 2014, & Peru’s Latido Americano 2016. In 2014 & 2015 WERC’s murals made the Top 10 murals of NYC and has been named one of the Top 10 most talented Street Artists in New York City. WERC’s client list includes Sony Pictures, Google, Heineken, PANTONE, BULGARI, and the San Diego International Airport, amongst many others.

For more information, visit his website HERE.

WERC working on the mural in Downtown Moline on the morning of Sunday, October 22, 2023.
Photo by Tar Macias Hola America

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