Des Moines Artist Ally Frame has been hard at work on a mural at La Carreta Mexican Grill this week, and while it isn’t completely finished yet, Frame expects to be done on Monday. The mural reads “Somos Marshalltown,” which translates to “We are Marshalltown.” Photo by Suzanna Meyer, T-R
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By Susanna Meyer, Times-Republican

Just over a week after the completion of a new mural at the VFW Post 839, a new one is in the works at La Carreta Mexican Grill, and Des Moines artist Ally Frame couldn’t be more excited to be creating a piece of artwork for the Marshalltown community.

Frame said that for the last couple of years, she has seen different Marshalltown murals popping up all over social media, so she decided to apply whenever there was a request for proposal for a new one. When an artist was needed to complete a piece at La Carreta, Amber Danielson, the executive director for the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, knew just who to call.

“It was a combination of the theme that La Carreta was looking for, and Ally has also applied for almost all the murals that we have done in Marshalltown. And so we knew she was eager to work in our community,” Danielson said. “Her portfolio and style aligned so well with what La Carreta was looking for in their piece, so it was a great partnership.”

The mural features a Papel Picado across the top with the word “Somos” printed on it, and beneath that, large lettering spells out “Marshalltown,” which translates to “We are Marshalltown.” Large, colorful flowers and butterflies surround the wording, making it stand out against the blue background even more, and while it’s not quite finished yet, the mural is well on its way to becoming another memorable yarn in the fabric that is the community’s emerging portfolio of public art.

Frame said many of the design elements were La Carreta owner Alfonso Medina’s ideas, so she kept his thoughts in mind as she came up with the concept. Medina even helped pick the color scheme by sending Frame pictures of Mexican ceramics, from which she then pulled colors.

“This was a lot of the owner’s ideas. He wanted a Papel Picado and he wanted it to say ‘Somos Marshalltown.’ He also wanted flowers that were native to South America, so that’s kind of what I went with,” Frame said. “(Alfonso) has been really awesome. He’s really, really kind and really thoughtful, so it’s really been a breeze. He’s been like a dream client.”

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The only real challenge Frame could think of was the scorching heat she encountered as she worked on the mural Tuesday and Wednesday. Aside from the hot temperatures, she was thoroughly enjoying the project — and not just because she got to sample La Carreta’s cuisine while she worked.

“This one has been really fun with all the colors. I kind of played with overlaying colors and getting different cues, so that’s been really fun,” Frame said. “I like this one because it’s directly unifying the Hispanic culture here, it’s like saying ‘You are welcome here, this is your town too.’”

Medina was excited to get involved with the larger mural project throughout the city and to participate in Marshalltown’s very own renaissance by providing a canvas at his restaurant.

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“Marshalltown is growing, and alongside with it, unique artwork is as well, so I wanted to make sure La Carreta took part in that action, and luckily, we had space for it,” Medina said. “Amber Danielson at the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance is doing a phenomenal job making sure that artwork and artists are being highlighted throughout our town, giving the town a sense of modernization and progressiveness. Her hustle really inspired me to get this mural done on our restaurant campus.”

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“Somos Marshalltown” is the second mural to be installed this year, and Danielson was glad to see another art feature contributing to the beauty and revitalization of Marshalltown.

“I think anytime we can celebrate the cultures that make up our community, it’s exciting. And La Carreta is doing a lot of really fun things and it’s great for us to continue our partnerships with businesses like La Carreta,” Danielson said.

The La Carreta mural is slated to be completed on Monday, and anyone who wants to see it for themselves can visit the restaurant located at 308 Iowa Ave. E.

Two more murals are set to be installed before the year is out — one in partnership with SportsPlus on Main Street and one in partnership with the Marshalltown Community School District at the Orpheum Theatre. Both are slated to start in September.

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