SoMa Mural Reflects Neighborhood’s New Life

If you’ve spent any amount of time on South Main in the past week, you’ll have noticed a bit of a change in the scenery. That’s thanks to Shannon Norman and her mural in progress on the side of the United Systems of Arkansas building at the corner of 12th and South Main streets.

The Fayetteville artist and former SoMa resident was commissioned by Little Rock’s Southside Main Street Project to create what’s known as a gateway mural.

Credit: Jess Ardrey

“We wanted it to welcome people to the neighborhood, but also give a feeling of what SoMa is about, a representative of the different elements in business and of the people who live here,” says Norman.

“It reflects the spirit of the people working together, changing what the neighborhood means to them and it taking on a whole new character.”

Norman’s inspiration came from the very individuals and business owners trying to make the area more vibrant and alive. Her favorite part is the larger-than-life hand holding a purse, a nod to the Esse Purse Museum down the road. Even the giant silhouettes are local. They just so happen to be the profiles of two friends of Norman’s who lived in the same apartment building as her when she called SoMa home.

Credit: Jess Ardrey

What does Norman envision for the neighborhood?

“I just hope people are proud,” she says. “Whether people are passing by on a bike, sitting at a shop, out for a walk, I would hope this is inspiring in some way, that it enhances their quality of life.”

If you ask us, our quality of life is already enhanced by the image of an 1880s woman holding a doughnut. Norman began work on the mural last week, on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and is already making big progress.

Lookin’ good, SoMa.

Credit: Jess Ardrey

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