Wheat Paste Murals

posted on Thursday, May 27, 2021

Wheat Paste Murals | Cedar Falls, Iowa

Tea Cellar in the Cedar Falls Downtown District

If you’ve shopped and dined in the Cedar Falls Downtown District and on College Hill recently, you may have already noticed some unique photo murals. Isaac Campbell, a University of Northern Iowa graduate student, installed nine wheat paste photo murals throughout the Cedar Falls Downtown District in May, 2021. Two photo murals were installed on College Hill in Cedar Falls last fall.     

Isaac explained the significance of the murals in a vinyl installation on a window in the Cedar Falls Downtown District:

“How do we begin to heal our hearts after more than a year filled with loss, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, separation, and loneliness? For many of us, the pain of lost memories and abandoned moments together still linger.”

“Just like memories themselves, the pasted murals, made from paper, flour, and water, will disappear over time. Some may be ripped away by a violent thunderstorm; others may slowly fade until the faces become unrecognizable. This period has made clear the incessant march of time and with it, the ephemerality of our time together. We cannot return to our distracted, disconnected behaviors of the past. We must make a change.”

“So, what will you do with the time you have? Were there moments of togetherness that you previously took for granted? What must you yank your hand back from in order to cultivate memories and relationships with one another?”

“Maybe, just maybe, part of the solution to healing our hearts is as simple as…”

“Getting back together.”

What’s also unique about the installations is that the photos are of Iowans. Fortepan Iowa curates photos taken by Iowans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They’re photos of the everyday life of Iowans.  

The murals make for a fun photo op as you shop, dine and walk the College Hill district and the Cedar Falls Downtown District. Isaac said in a recent Waterloo Courier interview that he’s “taking a closer look at what it means to reconnect…This moment is really important, and we need to reflect on what’s important for us.” With that in mind, he encourages everyone to use the hashtag, #GettingBackTogether.

Have you found all of the photo murals? We’ll help you out with a few locations and we hope you enjoy seeking out the rest in both districts.

College Hill – north side of Octopus
Downtown District – south side of Tea Cellar, south side of Braceability and the north side of The Black Hawk Hotel.

Wheat paste murals are intended to wear down and fade over time and some may have already washed away in recent rains. But, it’s hoped most of the murals will survive through the summer. Their lifespan depends on weather, but the murals on College Hill have lasted since October of 2020.   

As we get back together, remember to use #GettingBackTogether #FortepanIowa  and #WeKnowHowToWeekend on social media. We’d love to see your selfies!

If you’d like information about more Things to DoPlaces to Eat & Drink or a Place to Stay, we invite you to contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 319-268-4266 (800-845-1955). We’re open  9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. And, if you want to find additional events taking place in the Cedar Valley, visit our online calendar at CedarValley365.com

Wheat paste mural on the side of Octopus, College Hill
Wheat Paste Murals | Cedar Falls, Iowa

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