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New Street Art Effort in the Cedars Allows Artists to Tell Stories on a Large Scale

Long an enclave for creatives, a grassroots effort to bring street art to building walls is matching property owners and artists.
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Titled .222 Free In The Streets, Claudia Maysen says she drew inspiration for her new mural from another series of work she began two years ago after the Uvalde shootings. Courtesy Claudia Maysen

The Cedars has long been an enclave for artists just south of downtown Dallas. A new grassroots effort to beautify the area gave artist Claudia Maysen the opportunity to bring an earlier drawing to life on a larger scale. 

Cedars resident Madison Mask has been matching local artists with neighborhood spots that could use a little color. Most recently, he connected Maysen and property owner Herschel Alan Weisfeld, who volunteered a wall at Lear Street and Park Avenue.

Maysen says she frequently explores social issues in her art. Her mural was part of a body of work she began after the Uvalde massacre at Robb Elementary, which occurred two years ago today. Titled .222 Free In The Streets, the piece reflects on the ubiquity of the weapon at the center of the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history.

“I studied the legally-bought AR-15 ammunition used in mass shootings, its use as a symbol of freedom, how common it is to find it in our neighborhoods, and the ironic resemblance that these bullets have with flowers once they explode,” she says. “The centerpiece of this mural is a large format print of a drawing I made of an expanded .223 Remington round.” 

Flanking the illustration is a repeated refrain: “Some flowers shouldn’t be free in the streets. They are, but are we? .223 free in the streets.” Maysen hoped it would help viewers reflect on what they are looking at. 

She says the mural’s placement can also be considered art. “Nothing beats the poetic elements around this ‘flower randomly finding you on the street’: a bent stop sign, kind individuals living just across the street, and tiny spots of grass just trying to grow freely.”

Maysen, who collaborated with fellow artists Mariano and Mauro Garcia Maysen to expand the mural, said she saw the project as “an opportunity to contribute to the Cedars.”

“I hope viewers appreciate the aesthetic aspect of the mural and take a chance to explore its meaning,” she said.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.
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