At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, Mercado on Fifth will unveil three colorful murals that celebrate Hispanic culture on its newly renovated building at 423 12th St., Moline.

The approximately 2,500-square-feet of murals feature a ballet folklorico dancer in a colorful gown, a field of marigold flowers and images inspired by Day of the Dead, among other intricate details. The murals also pay homage to the organization’s history with a realistic portrait of Mercado on Fifth founder Bob Ontiveros, according to a Tuesday release from the nonprofit.

Colorful new murals have been painted on the Mercado on Fifth building in downtown Moline (photos by Jonathan Turner).

“We hope this mural inspires Hispanic cultural pride to the thousands of Latinos that call the Quad Cities home,” Mercado president Maria Ontiveros said in the release. “The artwork is a gift to honor the community that has made Mercado on Fifth such a vibrant place to start the weekend.”

Mercado on Fifth partnered with Chicago-based artist Czr Prz to create the murals on their new building just south of Vibrant Arena at The MARK. The artist and his team worked over a period of a month to complete the project.

Finishing touches are put on the building murals, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

“We put a lot of trust into Czr to cover three sides of the building, and he did not let us down,” said Ontiveros. “The details are stunning.”

Czr Prz (Caesar Perez) is a contemporary artist working in sculpture and large-scale aerosol murals. Born and raised in Chicago, Prz’s 20-year creative career has spanned North America and Europe. Prz enjoys telling stories with his artwork in the folkloric tradition instilled by his Latino-Caribbean upbringing.

His colorful pieces balance the beauty of ancient and natural elements with futuristic surrealism and incorporate symbols culled from traditional sources and pop culture alike, the Mercado release says.

The west-facing side of the Mercado building.

Mercado on Fifth is dedicated to promoting small and minority owned businesses and Hispanic cultural pride in the Quad Cities. Their Friday evening events attract an average of 2,000 people per night to celebrate culture and community. Mercado on Fifth runs from 5-10 p.m. every Friday from late May through late September on 5th Avenue in Moline.

Since 2016, the Mercado has served as a platform for over 100 small businesses and nonprofits. With the help of Mercado on Fifth and community partners like Black Hawk College and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University, over 50 new minority-owned businesses have been started.

Having outgrown its location on Moline’s 5th Avenue, Mercado on Fifth is capitalizing on the momentum it’s experienced by expanding indoors. In late 2019, Mercado, with real estate development group West Gateway Partners LLC, purchased the former Car Shop Inc. at 423 12th St., Moline, adjacent to the organization’s outdoor property.

Mercado and West Gateway, both managed by members of the Ontiveros family, are renovating the 6,300-square-foot building into a business incubator and event space. For more information, visit Mercado’s website.

To see a slideshow of the new murals, click below.