Following deadly shooting, Kansas City man hopes to uplift neighbors through art

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neighbors are demanding change one a week after a homicide in Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhood.

But one home is also getting a lot more colorful as Zac Laman attempts to uplift his neighbors through art. 

“Hopefully it brings a positive feeling,” he said.

Laman said the home holding his latest piece of art on Askew Avenue has sat vacant with broken windows and an overgrown yard.

But on Saturday, as Laman looked at the home, he said it represents progress.

“When a shooting or something happens in this neighborhood, you kind of feel helpless,” he said. “I’m an artist. That’s what I know how to do. It’s the one thing I thought I could do in the neighborhood to give people something else to think about, other than someone getting shot and killed. Something to look and think about.”.

Just last Saturday, the sound of gunshots piercing the air,  just steps away from Laman’s home.

“I woke up to get a glass of water, and I heard the gunshots in my bedroom. So I called 911 and reported it,” he said.

The shooting would leave 51-year-old Charles Cecil dead and a 53-year-old woman in critical condition, according to KCPD. Then 17-year-old Joshua Reese was charged of second-degree murder, providing just a hint of relief to Laman.

Now he hopes his mural, what he’s aptly named “The Abandoned Catfish,” helps distract and heal others in his neighborhood. 

“The catfish for me is a nostalgic thing. I grew up in Arkansas. It reminds me of going fishing with my parents and grandparents, so it just makes me feel good when I see it. I hope it will do the same for others,” Laman said.

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