Downtown Mural Project

A mural by the Argentine street artist Martin Ron is going up on the wall of 501 Fifth St. in downtown Sioux City. Ron and Des Moines artist Jennifer Brownlee are painting separate murals in Sioux City thanks to a $25,000 grant acquired by Downtown Partners.

Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY — Martin Ron’s eye-popping three-dimensional street art can be found in his native Buenos Aires, Argentina; Belgium; and Malaysia. Soon Sioux City will join that exclusive list.

The Argentine artist is in the midst of painting a three-story bison on the side of the Goosmann Law Firm building, 501 Fifth St.

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Martin Ron, a street artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the man responsible for the upcoming three-story bison mural going up on the side of the new Goosmann Law Firm building, 501 Fifth St. This photo was taken Sunday.

This project will be his second work in the United States after his “From Argentina with Love” mural in Miami.

Ron and Ramiro Estrada, his friend/assistant/translator, arrived in Sioux City on Oct. 8. They got to work on the bison mural a few days later. It will greet commuters coming into downtown along Fifth Street from the west and be visible from the Historic Pearl District.

While Sioux City is likely the smallest community Ron has worked in, he said he likes the atmosphere it offers. He noted a community the size of Sioux City gives him a better opportunity to get to know people and allows him to really get a sense of the place.

His Sioux City mural has been in the works for a year, and before this commission was finalized in August, Ron had started doing historical research on Sioux City and Siouxland, which what inspired the bison theme.

“He got interested in the fact that ‘Sioux’ comes from the Sioux Native Americans,” Estrada translated for Ron. “He came up with the buffalo because that’s what gave them sustainability: They ate it, they sold it, they used it for fur.”

Sitting on top of the bison’s head and between its horns are two people who are there to help mix the historical context of the creature with the contemporary use of characters, according to Ron.

The person responsible for bringing Ron to Sioux City is Ragen Cote, the executive director of Downtown Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to improving Sioux City’s central corridor.

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Downtown Partners executive director Ragen Cote, center, was responsible for bringing Ramon Estrada, left, and Martin Ron, right, to Sioux City. Ron is a world-renowned street artist who is painting a three-story bison in downtown Sioux City, and Estrada is his friend/assistant and translator. This photo was taken Sunday.

Cote also was also responsible for bringing in Des Moines artist Jenna Brownlee. Brownlee is painting a mural with a floral design that incorporates a handful of Sioux City landmarks: the Sergeant Floyd Monument, Woodbury County Courthouse, Chief War Eagle Monument and others.

Her mural is going on the side of M’s on 4th, 1021 Fourth St., and is progressing rapidly as well.

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Des Moines artist Jenna Brownlee has made substantial progress on her upcoming mural on the side of M's on 4th, 1021 Fourth St. This photo was taken Sunday. The floral design painting will also incorporate a handful of Sioux City landmarks: the Sergeant Floyd Monument, Woodbury County Courthouse, Chief War Eagle Monument and others.

Ron and Estrada will be in Sioux City until Oct. 23, and their next stop in the U.S. is at ArtRepublic in Jacksonville, Florida. 

While his work requires him to be on the road a lot, traveling the world to tell stories through his visuals is something Ron doesn’t seem to mind much.

“I paint a lot,” he joked. “It’s a lifestyle; painting in cities in connection with local people, governments and organizations to make huge art like this around the world.”

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