As I have previously written, The Grove (also known as Forest Park Southeast) is home to a growing number of murals that really make a big impact on the perceptions of a visitor to the neighborhood. Although The Grove has a wonderful start, its collection of murals is still quite small, at least in comparison to the large number of blank walls facing Manchester (and other side streets in the neighborhood). With the addition of the neon sign at Manchester and Sarah, The Grove is becoming more and more of an attractive place, and I am convinced that this investment will pay off.
A great way to add to this momentum is with more murals, and what better place to start but at more of the neighborhood’s “thresholds.” With neighbors like Barnes Jewish, Wash U Med School and St. Louis University, those points of entry that are visible to these significant populations hold lots of potential. As a SLU student I would often hike over to the Phillips 66 on Vandeventer for their competitively priced tall cans of Budweiser, but was totally unaware of The Grove’s existence just a couple of short blocks away. In addition, I felt that the dismal walk from Campus was only barely worth the cheap beer.
Now, the Rail Bridge over Vandeventer just south of Highway 40 has been rebuilt, and it has indented arches along both sides of the roadway, and in the support that splits the opposing lanes of traffic.
These spaces seem to be designed for murals, and I really hope that whoever is responsible for this bridge (Metro?) is open to the idea. I truly believe that SLU students would be more willing to walk to attractions in the Grove if the walk itself were more attractive. Right now, passing underneath the highway and train tracks is the scariest part of the trip. Bright and Colorful Murals underneath one of the bridges could not only make the walk more enjoyable right away, they could also encourage the addition of even more artwork to the area, maintaining the momentum that has been building here for several years now.
For more on the Grove’s Murals, see MUMC.Wordpress.com.