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Here's where you can see a giant outside gallery in St. Louis

"What we have here is incredible, and beautiful, and impactful for the community," Mary Ann Srenco with the Kranzberg Foundation said.

ST. LOUIS — The thought that art belongs inside of a museum doesn’t apply in the Grand Center District of St Louis. There is an alleyway there that has become a giant gallery. It is known as the Walls Off Washington.

Mary Ann Srenco got the idea while visiting other places.  

“Just walked around other cities and been in awe of all the public art and I’m like we need it here in St. Louis,” she said.

Srenco believes the Walls Off Washington is changing the formerly drab landscape.

“What we have here is incredible, and beautiful, and impactful for the community,” she told 5 On Your Side.

Srenco is with the Kranzberg Foundation. The foundation is behind the project that, so far, consists of murals by 20 artists.

“We’ve got the local greats and we’ve got people from all over the world,” she said.

In putting the Walls Off Washington together, the group made sure the pieces flowed.

“We were very careful with how it’s curated and how what goes where,” Srenco said.

But the artists were still able to show their individuality in their work.

“There is always some type of messaging that the artist wants to portray when they create a piece,” St. Louis artist Hayveyah McGowan said.

St. Louis artist Cbabi Bayoc painted his mural on an uneven wall, and he found it challenging. 

“When I saw all the windows and the steps, I was like, ‘Why am I getting that wall instead of one that doesn’t have all of these obstacles,’” he laughed.

But he accepted the challenge and created a piece that represented the people who used to live in the neighborhood.

“It’s there. It has to be painted, so grab the can and hit it. I don’t know how it is going to work just trust that it is going to work out,” Bayoc said.

The finished works are meant to inspire the viewer.

“Allowing people to stop and think and think about what’s important in their life,” McGowan said as she described her motivations.

The overall motive behind the Walls Off Washington is to take what is traditionally indoors and put it out in the open.

“Sometimes galleries can be intimidating,” said McGowan.

The project now allows for easier access to art.

“Public art is everything. You’re just like, in it,” Srenco said. 

Also, with so many empty walls throughout the urban environment, Bayoc said he believes this particular project may only be the beginning.

“There are a lot more buildings that can be had here in St. Louis. Just to be a part of that in the early stage, the sky’s the limit honestly,” he said.

The Walls Off Washington are located just east of the Fox Theater and north of Washington Avenue between Josephine Baker Boulevard and North Leonard Avenue.

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