Artist recreating iconic mural blocked by Two Light construction project

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City artist is spending his days atop the Kansas City skyline rewriting and repainting history.

Alexander Austin has painted murals on Kansas City buildings for 30 years, but he didn’t always have a hydraulic crane to get the top of his canvas.

“I’d just use stuff I could get a paint can or an old oil barrel from a vacant lot and stack it up and get up there any way I could," Austin said.

Now he can be found almost 100 feet up working on a mural that will wrap around two sides of one of Kansas City’s newest high-rise apartment building, Two Light.

It’s not the first time Austin has painted a mural of the Kansas City Monarchs players at 13th and Walnut Street.

“It always hurts a little to just see some of your hard work vanish," Austin said.

A mural he painted almost a decade ago when the Power and Light District opened is hidden now, and will only be visible from the Two Light parking garage when it opens next spring. But the developers didn’t want to keep the tens of thousands of people who drive by on the highway or through downtown from seeing Austin’s masterpiece.

“We felt it was important to figure out a way to reproduce those murals and keep that component of art and Alexander’s contribution to the district and the homage to the Negro Leagues in the project," said Nick Benjamin, Executive Director of Kansas City Power and Light District.

Austin says he’s learned a lot about Kansas City’s history through researching for his murals, and enjoys others getting to learn about it too.

The newest version of the mural that will be visible from Power and Light will also include Wilt Chamberlain and Jackie Robinson .He says since he started painting last week, plenty of people have hollered up to him to express their appreciation.

“People are very excited about it, using words like awesome and big words like woo," he said.

Austin expects to be done with both portions of the mural by about Halloween.

“The most fun for me is when I’m doing it and everything is turning out right," Austin said.

He may also get another chance to recreate his work. If the planned Three Light development ends up being constructed across Walnut from Two Light as expected, his Kansas City jazz mural would also be covered up. But he says he’s already been told, he could paint a new one on the side of that building.