Art bridges political divide: New RBG mural unveiled in downtown Manhattan

(Sean Schaper | Collegian Media Group) Photo credit: Sean Schaper

The downtown Manhattan area received a new mural inspired by progress the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made throughout history.

Local artist and graphic designer for ACME Local Taylor Carr helped with the RBG mural. Carr said there was a calling for artists and wanted to give it a try.

Having no experience in mural painting, she said the biggest challenge was not knowing how the public would react.

“The most important part was that people from different political parties started coming down to admire the almost done mural,” Carr said. “The sweetness of people being excited for the vision we had was one of the best parts.”

Carr admires RBG for being a strong leader who inspired her to also be a better leader. She said she highly values the ideas Justice Ginsburg pushed like connecting, creating meaningful relationships and listening to others.

Carr contributes lots of work to the Manhattan community, including designing the “Kansas: ‘It’s Not That Bad!’” slogan for ACME Local.

She first became involved with the community as a decorator for Varsity Donuts her sophomore year at Kansas State. She eventually helped out other businesses with graphic design.

While working at Varsity, Carr met Jessica Kerr, community organizing and education chair for the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice.

Kerr said Carr has a positive and joyful opinion of life. The duo worked together to help develop the Manhattan community by bringing big ideas to this small town.

“It makes me hopeful that there is an incremental change for the new generation of women to take and own power,” Kerr said. “[Carr] has helped me learn about being a vulnerable woman and to not be so internally focused.”

While painting the mural, Carr received help from Kathleen Tanona, a local donor.

Tanona said Carr’s positive, ambitious attitude has made her a more active business partner.

“Carr is young at heart, but responsible,” Tanona said. “She doesn’t give up things for her responsibilities. She has helped me become someone who trusts my instincts more.”

The mural painting began Oct. 16 and finished in two days with help from many local businesses and donors. It is in the alley opposite the Chef, off Fourth Street between Poyntz and Houston.