Murals are a nice touch of art in Cape Girardeau

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The effect of art on the mind is incredible and so often overlooked.

A song can get us on our feet and make us dance.

A play can make us empathize. A painting can make us smile.

A poem, spoken by the right person in the right way, can make us cry.

It's not to say that all art is positive. Some of it is controversial, intended to provoke anger or disgust.

But life without art would be depressing. Similarly, we need artists to lift us up. Their skill does more than brighten our worlds; their works can build bridges. The good majority of artists, by nature, force themselves to see the beauty in the world, and in people.

Malcolm McCrae is one such artist. The Southeast Missourian has profiled McCrae multiple times, and he has a wonderful back story.

He fought poverty with paint. Now, the artist, who lives in Southeast Missouri after growing up in Milwaukee, is teaching other young minds how positive attitudes and talent can be focused for good. He is showing his light.

McCrae is this week working with volunteers in painting a mural on the One City building at 610 Independence Street. McCrae and others are arriving not long after dawn to begin daily painting sessions. McCrae specializes in urban art, graffiti style works with positive and meaningful messages. The mural on the One City building will make a big splash and brighten up an area of town that could really use it. More importantly, he is showing youth in the community that they don't need to be ashamed of their urban roots and upbringings, but it can be channeled and used in positive ways.

Similarly, in another part of town, SEMO students worked together on a mural project at Stevie's Steakburgers on Broadway. Coordinated by Southeast Missouri State University associate professor Justin Miller, the students used orange and blue hues to brighten up a concrete wall near the drive-thru.

The students did it on a volunteer basis as part of a summer painting workshop.

We are seeing a change in the arts landscape in Cape Girardeau, and this only takes place because of the artists who do the work. In doing so, they inspire more art. Not everyone likes every piece of public art that can be seen in our city, but we can say this with certainty: Our town would be more dreary without it.

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