First MedQuarter commissioned mural completed

Dedication planned this fall for ‘Choose Kindness’ installation

MedQuarter new mural
This "Choose Kindness" mural is the first mural installed in the MedQuarter district of Cedar Rapids. CREDIT CEDAR RAPIDS METRO ECONOMIC ALLIANCE

A new mural on the west- and north-facing walls of the Citywide Cleaners building along A Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids, between Eighth and 10th streets, is the first of what’s hoped to be many murals commissioned in the MedQuarter Medical District (MedQ).

The “Choose Kindness” mural was created by muralist Ali Hval.

“I know it sounds odd, but this is one of my favorite murals,” Mr. Hval stated.“ I’ve been wanting to use this woven ribbon design for a long time, so this one really does feel special.”

After being approved by the Medical SSMID Commission, the Visual Arts Commission, and securing approval from the building owner, the MedQuarter went about the process of preparing the walls for the mural during the spring before it was installed in late June.

“The MedQuarter is extremely excited to get this mural, this message, out in the public domain,” said MedQuarter executive director Phil Wasta. “It is not only a colorful addition to the District, but this message is very relevant. Although the pandemic is subsiding, our health care workers are enduring a great deal while providing care to our community. It doesn’t hurt to encourage people to be kind to others.”

The MedQuarter plans to commission additional murals in the future. A dedication ceremony for the “Choose Kindness” mural will take place this fall.

The MedQuarter is a 55-square-block medical district in downtown Cedar Rapids. The district’s goal is to promote development within the medical community, including its surrounding businesses and residential areas. The district includes both of the city’s major hospitals, UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s and Mercy Medical Center, and also encompasses more than 500 physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists and other medical providers.

Established in 2011, the MedQ grew from a 2007 Vision Cedar Rapids Downtown Framework Plan for community development. The plan envisioned unique, self-supporting municipal improvement districts, including a medical district.