Grand Rapids Artist Highlights the Need for Representation

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — A new mural in Grand Rapids titled “Play with Me” aims to highlight the city’s Latinx community.

The message behind this bright and inviting work of art, located at Aleman Auto Repair on the South Division, is “representation”.

Hugo Claudin, the artist behind the project, is an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Claudin told FOX 17 that he’s seen the Latinx community face unnecessary challenges, while struggling to feel a sense of belonging.

“I lived in Grand Rapids for almost 15 years without speaking a single word of Spanish and I felt great here, so being here in the community talking in Spanish with the residents and letting them know they were integrated into the artwork was a very satisfying and rewarding experience for me,” Claudin said.

The mural also includes nods to Honduras, where the auto shop owner is from.

Claudin says the biggest focus is a little boy playing with bubbles, which is based on a boy named Sincere.

“I wanted to do something that really involves people and what better than having someone living here, seeing themselves on the wall,” Claudin added.

Claudin even made the mural interactive by adding holes for climbing feet.

This is the last episode of Diatribe Project 49507 in which the non-profit organization uses art to empower young people and raise awareness of social issues.

Claudin said he has been involved in the downtown creative scene since the 1980s.

To see more of his work, head over to his PageInstagram.

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