Council Bluffs is home to an extensive collection of impressive public art. In the last year, three new murals have popped up in the city. Murals are an innovative form of public art that allows you to use existing structures and buildings as your canvas. Many cities, including Council Bluffs, have commissioned this type of work to help bring vibrance and culture to the area.

I went out and explored the new pieces, and I think you should too! It is a great way to get outside, explore the city, and stay socially distant from others.

One of the three 12-foot photo murals depicts a scene from Council Bluffs in 1910. 

I started my exploration in the historic Lincoln-Fairview neighborhood. In addition to the beautiful historic homes, I came across three 12-foot tall photo murals along the walls of the CenturyLink building. The photos depict the former Council Bluffs Fire Department Central Station, the corner of Oakland and Fletcher Avenue in 1910, and the Washington School from 1920. These images celebrate the history of the area and are a great fit for the neighborhood. The mural was a result of a neighborhood “walkability grant” received from The 712 Initiative and its Neighborhood Network Initiative through funding by the Iowa West Foundation. I suggest stopping by for anyone that loves history and old photographs!

Local residents checking out the new mural near Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

The next mural I stopped by was the new Riverboat on the Missouri mural created by artist Luis Valle. You can spot this mural next to Bayliss Park between the Availa Bank and Western Iowa Mutual Insurance buildings. The vivid mural includes an image of a riverboat making its way down the Missouri River, the Loess Hills, a railroad double-swing bridge, and a gorgeous Council Bluffs sunset. It perfectly depicts the rich history of the area. The Iowa West Foundation, Availa Bank, and Western Iowa Mutual Insurance partnered together to fund this mural. 

Artists Tyler Kissel talks about the progress he has made on the new 100 Block mural

The last stop on my mural journey was the new mural in the passageway of the Historic 100 Block created by local artist and Council Bluffs native, Tyler Kissel. The mural says “enjoy” and features a beautiful sunset in the letters. This mural brightened up the passageway that many locals and visitors walk through to access the businesses on the 100 Block. This mural was a result of the AARP Iowa Community Grant received by The 712 Initiative, through this they were able to commission Kissel to complete the mural. I can see this becoming one of Council Bluffs' most Instagrammable spots!

I hope you enjoy exploring new things in Council Bluffs as much as I do. For more public art in Council Bluffs, visit our public art and Iowa West public art sites listings! 

This post was originally published on November 6, 2020 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.