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  • Writer's pictureDiana McDaniel Hampo

Explosions of Color and Love in Hot Springs

I absolutely love all the magnificent murals springing up in Hot Springs. You turn a corner

and BOOM there is an explosion of color, passion and love in your face. And I think the murals kind of go along with our history. Maybe it all started with the Tom Moore Cigar advertising downtown.

The beautiful Native American mural downtown is special for a couple of reasons. First, it's simply stunning. Second, from a distance he looks absolutely perfect but when you walk up to that wall you see lots of smears and dribbles. I've been told those

"imperfections" were 100% intentional, created by Italian artist Pepe GaKa. I've never learned what the message is supposed to be behind the smears, but I do have my simple interpretation. Lots of things look perfect from a distance, then you get close, learn the whole story and your realize perfect things are made of imperfections.

There's a splendid mural on Malvern Avenue on

the side of the Habitat for Humanity store.

There are musicians, children and adults parading their talents. It's sponsored by Wells Fargo and the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and was painted by Pepe Gaka and Cutwell for Kids. Recently an artist friend, Deborah Dispensa, pointed out that one of the men in this mural is legendary Hot Springs musician John Puckett. This made me so happy. Sneaky little secrets make murals so magical.

But it's this little mural on the Webb Center that's my absolute favorite. I don't know who painted it but it captures the magic and passion that's possible when artists are allowed to


To all you mural artist, thank you! I can't wait to see what you do next.

If you like this story about stuff I love in Hot Springs I hope you'll check out some other posts at

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