Walking among art: A virtual tour through Dubuque’s street mural collection


“Ada Hayden,” by Gaia, at 233 Main Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Iraklia,” by Andonia Giannakouros, on the south wall of Shamrock Imports behind Monks at 373 Bluff St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Another Odd Fellow,” by Werc, at Fifth and Locust streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Precontact,” by Gaia, on Steve’s Ace Hardware building at 200 S. Locust St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Undercurrent,” by Werc, located in the Third Street alley between Main and Locust streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Wisdom,” by Nate Dee, on Second Street between Main and Locust streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Charging Bison,” by Arcy, at 107 Locust St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Owl’s Moon,” by Werc, located at 1500 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Rising Sun,” by Zore & ZorZorZor, at 1st and Main streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Mississippi Dance,” by Gera, located in the 3rd Street alley between Main and Locust streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Cut Flowers,” by Amanda Valdes, located at 365 Main Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Bird Dog,” by Werc & Gera, located in the Second Street alley between between Locust and Main streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“The Fate of the Santa Clara,” by Miles Turner, at 1460 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Julien Dubuque,” by Miles Turner, at 576 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Eileen Meslar/Telegraph Herald


A mural by Therese Mulgrew, located at 30 Main St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Eileen Meslar/Telegraph Herald


Resilient mural on Washington Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Notorious RBG mural on Jackson Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Red Shoulder Hawk mural on Washington Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Welcome To Dubuque mural on Jackson Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


We The People mural on Iowa Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Solidarity mural on Main Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Ode to the River mural on Washington Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Vietnam mural on Delhi Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


John Coltrane mural on Central Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Coretta Scott King mural on Central Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Free Spirit mural on Central Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


That We Might Be Free mural on Jackson Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


I Am A Man mural on Bluff Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder mural on Central Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


Bur Oak State Tree of Iowa mural on Central Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen Gassman Telegraph Herald


“Nature’s Remedy.” PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Healing Waters.” PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Ghost Players.” PHOTO CREDIT: Beth Lutgen


“River Deity,” by Beau Stanton is located at 105 S. Locust St. PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Gloss


“Automate,” by Gaia, located at the corner of Second and Main streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Kettering Telegraph Herald


Clarke University art students recently painted this mural, entitled “Ascending,” on the side of Welu Printing at 17th Street and Central Avenue in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Kettering Telegraph Herald


“America Needs a Hug,” by Werc & Gera, located at 1501 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“La Pachamamam Ama Dbq,” by Luis Valle, at 1638 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“La Pachamamam Ama Dbq,” by Luis Valle, at 1638 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Redemption,” by Gaia, located at 1599 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Redemption,” by Gaia, located at 1599 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Pattern Revival,” by Gera, located in the alley of the 300 block of Main Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Young David,” by Starfighter, located on the south wall of Skinny Maginny’s at 345 Main St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Justice,” by Starfighter, located on the north wall of Skinny Maginny’s at 345 Main St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Moon Goddess,” by Cindy Byrne, at the corner of Iowa and Second streets in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Hush of Heaven,” by WSRolfe, in the alley of the 300 block of Main Street in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Persistence,” by COLD, on the Smokestack building at 62 E. Seventh St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Portal,” by Hoxxoh, located at 1090 White St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Portal,” by Hoxxoh, is located at 1563 Central Ave. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


“Wild Rose,” by DiDi, located at 395 Main St. in Dubuque. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

If you’re taking a stroll in downtown Dubuque, it doesn’t take long for bold splashes of color to capture the wandering eye.

Love it or hate it, street art has emerged as a popular form of public expression, taking the once-blank canvases of city buildings and transforming them into large-scale works of art.

The Dubuque area has been no exception.

Born from Voices from the Warehouse, which launched in 2005, the artistic effort took its focus from a makeshift gallery space in the Millwork District to the streets in 2016. Since then, Voice’s Productions has wooed a roster of local and world-renowned artists, with more than 40 murals adding new and vibrant energy to buildings.

Four additional murals are slated to be added to that roster in the coming weeks, according to organizers.

Here, we offer a look at those completed thus far, with interesting tidbits surrounding the murals, the artists who created them and the locations you can find them.

To compliment that, we’ve also developed an online component, enabling viewers to take a virtual walk through the exhibition. We will continue populating it with each new mural painted.

“Automate”

Location: Second and Main streets.

Artist: Gaia.

Info: Employees of the Dubuque Brewing and Malting Co. can be seen, with the word “Automate” superimposed upon the image. Three colors representing the American and French flags offer a nod to Dubuque’s heritage.

Gaia’s studio work, installations and gallery projects have been exhibited throughout the world, and his street work has been documented in books on urban art. He was listed as a 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Art and Style recipient. While he lives and works in Baltimore, Gaia spends a majority of his time painting murals throughout the world. “Automate” is one of four murals he has created in Dubuque.

“Ascending”

Location: 17th Street and Central Avenue.

Artists: Clarke University students.

Info: Created by Clarke art students and led by associate professor of art Jessie Rebik, the mural features a colorful assortment of individuals ascending mountainous peaks. The collaborative effort came to fruition after students took part in the Voices Productions mural workshop in 2018.

“America Needs A Hug”

Location: 1501 Central Ave.

Artists: Werc

and Gera.

Info: The mural features the Goddess of Lighting, Astrape, carrying enlightenment on the wings of an eagle, a symbol of higher perspective and prosperity. Astrape is seen atop a patterned field inspired by the art of the Meskwaki tribe. A wild rose, Iowa’s state flower, is depicted as a symbol of beauty and nature.

Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Werc creates pieces inspired by symbols, urbanization, letters, language, graffiti, border culture and nostalgic humor among immigrant cultures. His pieces can be found throughout the East Coast — most notably in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has created five murals in Dubuque — two in collaboration with Gera.

“La Pachamama Ama Dubuque”

Location: 1638 Central Ave.

Artist: Luis Valle.

Info: Splashes of color surround an image of a Pachamama, regarded as Mother Earth and a goddess worshiped by indigenous people of the Andes. A feminine form can be seen outlined with sprawling branches on a multicolored field that hints toward nature, with soaring cranes and the cosmos.

The Nicaraguan-born artist Valle exiled with his family to Miami in his early years. There, he showed an aptitude for art, going on to earn advance degrees and developing an interest in video art while continuing his progression as a painter. As one of the artists who led 2018’s mural workshop, Valle has created three pieces in Dubuque.

“Redemption”

Location: 1599 Central Ave.

Artist: Gaia.

Info: Fingertips intertwine with a pocket watch and chain, over a vibrant array of pink and orange blossoms.

“Pattern Revival”

Location: Alley of the 300 block of Main Street.

Artist: Gera.

Info: A pattern including turquoise, red and blue architectural shapes, dances repetitively across the side of a building.

Gera is a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She uses photo, video performance, artist books and public art in her practice to “intentionally beautify and bring to light both sacred patterns and the patterns woven into our social fabric.” She also incorporates “an archaeological approach to research and documenting the distinctive characteristics of each site.”

“Young David” and “Justice”

Location: 345 Main St.

Artist: Starfighter.

Info: A young King of Israel pensively gazes across the canvas of the side of the building, brick peeking through the paint layers, and a bird taking flight. A second mural draws similarities.

Featured among the Google Art Project’s Street Art Collection launched in 2016, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work has been cited as among the “Most Influential Acts of Street Art Around the World.” Starfighter also has been highlighted as among the most innovative artists to watch. Growing up, she was inspired by performers on the boardwalk, caricaturists and muralists painting from her neighborhood.

“Moon Goddess”

Location: Corner of Iowa and Second streets.

Artist: Cynthia Nelms-Byrne.

Info: “Moon Goddess” is the result of a workshop Nelms-Byrne attended, facilitated by Voices Productions. The Dubuque artist was struggling to find artistic inspiration after her husband of 26 years, author Robert Byrne, died in 2016. “(The workshop) reawakened my artistic desires,” she told the TH in 2018, upon completing the mural that adorns the back of her downtown home. Nelms-Byrne began with a primitive drawing of a little girl throwing a ball that would bounce. She showed it to Gaia, who was staying with her while he was working on murals in town. He told Nelms-Byrne, “What about if instead of a ball, it’s the moon?” “And I remembered that my name, Cynthia, is related to the moon, to the goddess of the moon,” Nelms-Byrne said.

“Hush of Heaven”

Location: Alley of the 300 block of Main Street.

Artist: PurlGur.

Info: Painted by Voices Productions team member Wendy Rolfe, the mural represents “the space of peace and the decision for that quiet mind that is available, despite the clamoring daily distractions,” according to the artist. “The spray paint can juxtaposes the label of street art with classical and traditional effects, as well as rebellious ramifications to those things established.”

“Persistence”

Location: 62 E. Seventh St.

Artist: COLD.

Info: Adorning the side of a popular downtown Dubuque venue, the mural makes use of the aging Smokestack exterior, embellishing its worn brick with the gaze of an owl, the wings of a butterfly and a haunting figure peering outward.

“Portal”

Locations: 1090 White St. and 1563 Central Ave.

Artist: Hoxxoh.

Info: With like patterns found in cities across the country, the artist’s goal is to depict “a different way of viewing time through a means of exploring its natural fabric. The oscillation of the pendulum paints time through gravity’s natural pull, expressing how we can be pulled in one direction, when we are really meant to be going in another.” His works aim to represent what is possible when the viewer lets go of controlling time and lets its predetermined course take control. The hypnotizing motions depict that everything ends in its rightful place.

“Wild Rose”

Location: 395 Main St.

Artist: DiDi.

Info: Inspired by Iowa’s state flower, the mural is an image of confidence. As the subject turns around, her purple hair with pink highlights and orange braids flips as she eyes the viewer. It fittingly is located along the side of Capri College, a beauty, cosmetology and massage school.

The Israeli artist’s work often embodies “waves of energy moving through us all, the faces spreads all over the city watch us and over us — they are the beholder — we are their objects,” according to an artist statement.

“Ada Hayden”

Location: 233 Main St.

Artist: Gaia.

Info: Ada Hayden was the first female to receive a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. In the artist’s statement, Gaia said, “The Butts family, who used to own a florist shop, requested a piece celebrating the practice of botany. This is the resulting piece produced by Voices Productions in Dubuque and features a composition populated by both the wild and domestic rose as well as the single eye of Mazzuchelli, a pioneer Dominican friar who would help establish the Catholic cathedral adjacent to this site.”

“Iraklia”

Location: South wall of Shamrock Imports, behind Monk’s Kaffee Pub, 373 Bluff St.

Artist: Andonia Giannakouros.

Info: Born in Dubuque and studying studio art at Clarke University, the artist focuses her work on the human figure, using repetition to symbolize disruption, vibration and to mimic images she related to her childhood.

“Another Odd Fellow”

Location: Fifth and Locust streets.

Artist: Werc.

Info: A fox can be seen riding a noble steed. In the background, a paddle wheel hints toward days gone by on the Mississippi River, with the two figures “riding into the future.” The mural was completed during 2017’s eclipse.

“Precontact”

Location: 200 S. Locust St.

Artist: Gaia.

Info: A natural wildflower landscape gives way to an image divided, featuring a sprawling cornfield, adorning Steve’s Ace Hardware. It depicts the European influence on the hemisphere from a genetically diverse environment precontact, to a monoculture post-contact. At 20 feet high and 160 feet long, it is Dubuque’s largest mural.

“Undercurrent”

Location: Third Street alley, between Main and Locust streets.

Artist: Werc.

Info: Inspired by Crystal Lake Cave as seen in the stalagmites surrounding the image of a face, the mural also makes use of the building’s architectural features as windows peering into the soul.

“Wisdom”

Location: Second Street, between Main and Locust streets.

Artist: Nate Dee.

Info: Incorporating the wisdom of an owl — seen in many of the artist’s other murals throughout his native Florida — Dee draws influence from his Haitian background, as well as Art Nouveau, Greek art from the Hellenistic and pop surrealists. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, which listed him as one of 10 Miami artists to follow on Instagram.

“Rising Sun”

Location: First and Main streets.

Artists: Zore and ZorZorZor.

Info: A bright and centralized sun pulls focus inward almost as gravity in this mural. The collaborative mural was created by two Chicago-based street artists, drawing their influence from the graffiti art they saw growing up in an urban landscape.

“Mississippi Dance”

Location: Third Street alley, between Main and Locust streets.

Artist: Gera.

Info: Dancing blue waves representing the beauty of the nearby Mississippi River can be seen.

“Cut Flowers”

Location: 365 Main St.

Artist: Amanda Valdes.

Info: Natural wildflowers native to the tri-state were the inspiration behind the mural, tying in a vibrant style to help brighten the space behind Capri College.

The Miami-based artist combines a macabre-style and female identity, primarily using “the dolls in her head” as her muse. Valdes had her first solo exhibition at 18. Now 27, her work can be seen throughout the world.

“Bird Dog”

Location: Second Street alley, between Locust and Main streets.

Artists: Werc and Gera.

Info: The mural celebrates the outdoors, with floral patterns, the state flower and a dog.

“The Fate of the Santa Clara”

Location: 1460 Central Ave.

Artist: Miles Turner.

Info: The mural depicts an octopus grasping the Santa Clara, one of Christopher Columbus’ ships — more commonly known as the Nina. The bright orange octopus rises from a sea of huge, blue waves. Around the upper edge, there is a purple-and-yellow diamond pattern, similar to bathroom tile. In an interview with the TH, Turner said it is intended to recall childhood memories of splashing around in a bathtub playing sea monster. Though the piece’s deeper meaning is political, for the common passerby, Turner wanted to create something beautiful. “I like the idea of painting monstrous things at big, monstrous sizes,” said the Dubuque artist. “Large art takes you in it.”

“Julien Dubuque”

Location: 576 Central Ave.

Artist: Miles Turner.

Info: In an ode to Dubuque’s founding father, an image of Julien Dubuque can be seen, as well as a French fleur-de-lis and Dubuque’s lifespan. The artist aimed to offer a modern spin on a locally iconic image.

“T.J.M. Still Life”

Location: 30 Main St.

Artist: Therese Mulgrew.

Info: In a tribute to her Irish roots and Dubuque family, Mulgrew’s mural captures a cozy still life scene complete with a book, a flower, a smoldering cigarette and a glass of whiskey.

“Resilient”

Location: 300 Washington St.

Artist: Kyle Fitzgerald.

Info: In a tribute to Dubuque, the local artist was in search of the perfect nine-letter word that would not only capture the life amid the COVID-19 pandemic and fill the east wall on the building at East Ninth and Washington streets, but that also would encapsulate Dubuque’s vibrant history and spirit. The word he happened upon was “resilient.”

“Notorious R.B.G.”

Location: East 12th and Jackson streets.

Artist: Luis Valle.

Info: The mural pays tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, painted in October 2020, approximately one month following her death.

“Red Shouldered Hawk”

Location: 800 Washington St.

Artist: Luis Valle.

Info: The mural captures a red-shouldered hawk as it glides through a vibrant sky of blue, red, yellow and hint of purple.

“Welcome to Dubuque”

Location: Alley between White and Jackson streets, near East 10th St.

Artists: Wendy Rolfe and Therese Mulgrew.

Info: The mural created by a mother and daughter team with family roots steeped in Dubuque depicts the Key City through a postcard with vintage flair. It also includes typography and a color palette reminiscent of branding once used by Dubuque Star Brewery, as well as a nod to the Riverboat Twilight.

“We the People”

Location: 890 Iowa St.

Artist: Beau Thomas.

Info: The mural, created by a Green Bay, Wis.-based artist and sponsored by Trappist Caskets with a matching grant from Humanities Iowa’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, carries a connection between journalism, the humanities and informed citizenry in light of democratic principles.

“Solidarity”

Location: 401 Main St.

Artist: Shelby Fry.

Info: Ten fists peacefully raised spell out the title of the mural, as well as depict the concept of solidarity between races, gender, sexual orientation and those with disabilities. Designed by Dubuque artist Shelby Fry, it was a community effort that saw residents participating in the painting of the mural on the side of Five Flags Center.

“Ode to the River”

Location: Alley between Washington and Elm streets, near East 13th Street.

Artist: Shelby Fry.

Info: The Dubuque artist’s inspiration was drawn from the Mississippi River and local fishing community that previously had been missing in artistic public tributes.

“Vietnam”

Location: 1306 Delhi St.

Artist: Corban Lundborg.

Info: The artist and military combat photographer from Atlanta painted the mural on the side of the American Legion Post 6 building. The piece is based on an Associated Press photograph of two U.S. Marines walking through a landing zone during the Vietnam War.

“John Coltrane, A Love Supreme”

Location: 1585 Central Ave.

Artist: Corban Lundborg.

Info: The mural depicts American saxophonist and composer John Coltrane — a pioneer of jazz music.

“Coretta Scott King”

Location: 1585 Central Ave.

Artist: Dana Harrison.

Info: Sharing a wall alongside a tribute to John Coltrane, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife Coretta Scott King is painted, along with the quotation, “The greatness of a community is measured by the compassion of its members.”

“Free Spirit”

Location: 1770 Central Ave.

Artists: David Hoyt Master and Winfield Russel Master.

Info: The image depicts a wild stallion, galloping over a field of white. Its rider, strapped with a guitar, is triumphant and free.

“That We May Be Free”

Location: 3130 Jackson St.

Artist: Cheryl Hermansen.

Info: An American Flag waves across the canvas, as a bald eagle soars through the image.

“I Am A Man”

Location: 346 W. Eighth St.

Artists: Brandon Warner and Dana Harrison.

Info: Created as a collaboration between Voices Productions and the Dubuque Museum of Art, the mural aims to spark conversation surrounding racial equality. It is based on a well-known photograph taken in 1968 by photojournalist Bob Adelman, during a memorial march in Memphis, Tenn., days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. King had planned to lead the “I Am A Man” march in Memphis, which supported the sanitation workers strike that began in February of that year, calling attention to dangerous working conditions, low pay and racial violence.

“Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder”

Location: 1585 Central Ave.

Artist: Therese Mulgrew.

Info: The mural adorns the new permanent location of the Voices Productions gallery. It was painted live, with an audience in attendance, to celebrate the space, as well as the 80th birthday of musician Bob Dylan.

“Bur Oak, State Street Iowa”

Location: 1585 Central Ave.

Artist: Dana Harrison.

Info: Another mural located at the Voices Productions gallery, the image shows a pair of bur oak trees framing an opening of the building that is undergoing renovations.

“River Deity”

Location: 105 S. Locust St.

Artist: Beau Stanton.

Info: The wall is an annually rotating mural, done in a partnership between Travel Dubuque and Voices Productions. The latest mural, completed on May 9, is the work of a New York City based artist. The image depicts the Roman river deity, Arno. It also includes waves and Mississippi lilies, as well as rays of light, providing the optimistic perspective that with proper mindfulness, the river can be preserved.

Voices Quotation Series

A spin-off of the mural project also emerged, with the Voices Quotation Series. These pieces feature literary and philosophical quotations, strategically located in downtown Dubuque.

“The Jack Kerouac is one example,” said Sam Mulgrew, mural project director for Voices Productions. “’Nosce te ipsum’ is the other and the Latin version of the Greek phrase meaning, “know thyself.” This phrase was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi and has been referenced in all sorts of literature.”

Here’s where to find them:

“Kerouac Quotation,” 13th and Elm streets.“Nosce te ipsum,” 325 W. First St.

See the work of Voices Mural Workshop grads

“Nature’s Remedy,” 2822 Pennsylvania Ave., Cheryl Hermansen.“Healing Waters,” 537 W. Eighth St., Miles Turner.“Reflection One,” 99 Main St., Justin Foust.“The Inevitability of Land,” 530 Loras Blvd., Sara Schroeder.

Murals beyond Dubuque

“Ghost Players,” 201 First Ave. E, Dyersville, Iowa, Beau Thomas.“Small Town, Big Heart,” 102 N. Center Ave., Epworth, Iowa, Beau Thomas.

Megan Gloss writes for the Telegraph Herald.

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