Chadron Art Alley Continues to Expand


By Kerri Rempp
Discover Northwest Nebraska

The desire for #ChadronMade art cannot be contained.

Three new murals were added to Chadron’s Art Alley this year, with two of them taking the art out of the alley and into other locations.

Art Alley proper saw the addition of a cornucopia and honeycomb mural on the back of The Natural Food Co-op building, and the artistic efforts spread to the 300 block of Main Street and to a city-owned water tower south of town.

Chadron’s Art Alley started in 2019 with a “Paint the Town” event to create “The Good Life” mural on the back wall of Bloom. The alley, located just west of Main Street, now has several full-size murals, all designed and executed by local artists and volunteers with mostly donated materials.

“The Good Life” mural, designed by Chadron Chamber of Commerce Director Gabby Michna, provided the blueprint for the murals that followed.

Michna designed the art, working with Bloom owner Cori Brennan, and over the course of three days other local artists and volunteers from across the community brought it to life. Once each new mural is designed and approved by the hosting business, residents and visitors are invited to help paint. No artistic talent is required, and kids are invited to paint to instill a love of art in them. Each mural is essentially completed in three days.

In 2019, two #ChadronMade murals were executed; today there are 13 public murals, and the steering committee formed to drive the project also created a mural for the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department that cannot be visited.

The Natural Food Co-op (249 Main St.) mural added in July was designed by local artist Jackson Smith with direction from the co-op’s board. The co-op was formed in 1976 and is open to all shoppers with no membership required. The mural features the cornucopia, full of fresh produce, honeycombs and a rays of sunshine inspired by a sun originally painted on the alley entrance to the building.

Up the block at the CAPstone Child Advocacy Center (316 Main St.), artist Jacklyn Janeksela was inspired by her personal connection to the agency’s efforts and designed a mural for the building. Janeksela and Adam Kurowski painted the mural themselves, allowing the steering committee to focus on the co-op mural. Unlike the murals in Art Alley, CAPstone’s artwork is on the front of the building and features whimsical houses surrounded by friendly floral arrangements.

Finally this year, #ChadronMade ventured down Highway 385 south of the city, where local artist Jerry Kathol, known as “The Gov,” skillfully crafted an historical scene on the Chadron Water Tower. The mural depicts the journey of Native Americans and French traders meeting in the fall to trade goods. The trading post in the mural is the Bordeaux Trading Post, established in 1837 by James Bordeaux of the American Fur Company. The post itself has been fully reconstructed at the Museum of the Fur Trade east of Chadron on Highway 20.

Other highlights of Art Alley include the “Hate Has No Home Here” mural at Service Barber, also designed by Michna with the phrase “Hate Has No Home Here” depicted in several languages, and “Fur Trade Days” on the back of the Molecajete’s building. That mural, designed by art teacher Travis Hencey, reflects the city’s heritage of the fur trading era and its annual Fur Trade Days celebration. The First Amendment is celebrated in another mural designed by Kathol at 248 West Second St., the location of The Chadron Record.

“Art districts have really taken off,” Michna told the Chadron Record in 2019. “There is a lot of culture here that isn’t represented in a way tourists or guests know.”

You can learn more about Chadron’s Art Alley at The site also links to a Google map with the locations for each mural.