Recent years have seen downtown Little Rock become awash in color and creativity with more than twenty works of wall-sized public art. A new crop of local and regional artists has used the city as both their inspiration and their canvas, and now, with our new virtual mural tour, it’s easier than ever to visit these breathtaking works of art. The tour’s interactive map lets you plan your journey, highlighting just how close together these fantastic works of art are to all of your favorite Little Rock attractions.
Next time you need a break from social distancing at home, hop in the car or on your bike and take an art adventure. Here are four of our favorite can’t-miss murals on the tour.
7th St. West of Capitol Ave.
“Peace” is one of Little Rock’s largest murals, but it’s also one of its most hidden: covering both sides of the 7th street railroad underpass. First painted in 2016, it underwent a complete restoration in 2019 as part of the celebration of Arkansas Peace Week. The mural features themes of peace and social justice and features images Martin Luther King Jr., Little Rock Central High School and the Little Rock Nine. Additional panels feature a larger than life Lady Justice and protestors advocating for contemporary social justice reforms.
West 6th St. & Main St.
“Beneath the Surface” isn’t the largest mural in downtown, but it was the first and helped to kick off an era of revitalization on Main Street when it was completed in 2015. The 4,300-square foot mural features a school of gargantuan koi as they lazily swim through jade green waters. It was painted with the help of art students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and was the first of McLeod’s three murals in Little Rock.
While you visit, step across the street to grab a bite to eat. North across 6th Street is local favorite Samantha’s Tap Room, and just east across Main Street is Little Rock’s favorite place to go for Chinese noodles and dumplings: Three Fold.
East 6th St. & Scott Street
The inside of a parking garage isn’t where most people go to look at art, but that’s exactly what makes Guy Bell’s “Migration” so great. His wrap-around mural of electronic bison was inspired by ancient cave paintings and is one of downtown Little Rock’s most whimsical art pieces.
“Migration” is located right next to Baker’s Alley, a block-long nexus of public art. Explosive color is found everywhere from the pavement planters that line the alley and artwork from local artists cover the alley’s doors.
1500 South Main St.
Okay, sure, technically these are two different murals, but they’re on the same building, so we’ll count them as a single entry on our list. The north face of the building features “Yes We Can” a food-themed tribute to the South Main neighborhood and the power of working together as a community. If you ask us, we’d say it’s best appreciated while noshing on brunch from The Root Cafe.
The south face of the building features “Woman with Dog,” an homage to the dogs of Little Rock featuring an excited greyhound taking its owner for a walk. Sandwiched between the two murals is the ESSE Purse Museum, North America’s only museum dedicated to women’s history and their handbags and one of Little Rock’s must-see destinations. Even during these times of social distancing, the museum’s collections are viewable here.