A moment in Lawrence: Van Go artists, hospitality workers celebrate completion of new mural

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The young artists of Van Go and members of the Lawrence Restaurant Association on Saturday celebrated the completion of a new mural, “Sustenance,” in downtown Lawrence.

The mural consists of four images that are 8 feet wide by 10 feet tall, according to information from Sarah Humbert, office and development coordinator for Van Go. It is hung on the east side of the U.S. Bank building at Ninth and Massachusetts Streets.


“This multi-panel artwork was created in Fall of 2021 by Van Go Apprentice Artists in the JAMS program in partnership with the Lawrence Restaurant Association to honor the essential work of those engaged in the food and hospitality service industry,” Humbert wrote. “… Four distinct scenes depict unique roles and contributions of food service workers, particularly as they stepped up and supported the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The architecturally inspired painted borders of each panel are reminiscent of the many historic buildings along Massachusetts Street, Humbert wrote. “Downtown Lawrence continues to be the epicenter of a thriving community and home to many locally owned and operated restaurants.”

The ribbon cutting also marked the beginning of Lawrence Restaurant Week, which continues through Feb. 27. Many restaurants around town have special menus available for the occasion. Learn more and check out the list of participating restaurants at this link.

Van Go is an arts-based social service agency for qualifying Douglas County youth, ages 14-24. Van Go’s apprentice artists receive comprehensive employability skills training, health and wellness education, and social service support. Learn more about Van Go on its website.

Doug Stremel via Van Go/Contributed Photo Jafiya Birdling, a Van Go apprentice artist and member of the organization’s leadership team
Doug Stremel via Van Go/Contributed Photo Davon Davis, a Van Go apprentice artist and member of the organization’s leadership team, speaks at a ribbon cutting for the “Sustenance” mural on Feb. 19, 2022 in Lawrence.
Doug Stremel via Van Go/Contributed Photo
Doug Stremel via Van Go/Contributed Photo
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