This Washington Heights Mural Reminds Us That “We Are in This Together”

The artist hopes this mural will make you smile.

Amidst all of the COVID-19 craziness, Fred Kaems is one of many who has found himself unemployed. As an artist with more free time on his hands and a garage door with a weathered mural, he decided to use this time to paint a new design on the door.

Done with spray paint, a common medium for Kaems, the mural is a text-based design that says “We Are In This Together” that extends from the garage itself onto the garage door. Inspired by COVID-19 and the hardships faced by many, Kaems hopes to brighten someone’s day, along with his own.

“This sucks for everybody,” says Kaems. “It’s not you, it’s not me — it’s all of us.” It is this sense of togetherness and unity that Kaems mural emphasizes as the word “together” appears to practically jump off the garage door. 

The mural itself is located in Washington Heights in the alleyway of Highmount and 49th but can be viewed from W. Lloyd St.

“The most gratifying part is seeing how it can brighten someone’s day,” said Kaem.

When designing the mural, Kaem was originally going to do an image-based design and was going to paint only the garage door. However, when he started working, Kaem made decisions as he went and had fun with it. 

“The words themselves I think are a really important thing to remember,” said Kaem. “It’s a positive little reminder that we’ll figure this out. Somehow we always come out stronger when faced with adversity.”

So, if you find yourself stir crazy and need a good excuse to get out of the house, take a quick drive and check out Kaem’s mural. We are in this together, after all.

If you see the mural, Kaem hopes it brings a smile to your face.

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Allie is an Editorial Intern at Milwaukee Magazine. She is a junior at UW-Milwaukee studying Creative Writing and Journalism. You can follow her on Instagram at @alliehabck