Rachael Keating/Clinton Herald

University of Iowa graduate students and mural artists Ali Hval and Marina Ross cut the ribbon in front of their completed mural Thursday with members of the University of Iowa Outreach Program and the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

CLINTON -- A downtown Clinton landmark now features a piece of abstract artwork that pays homage to the city, along with the Mississippi River.

A mural on the northwest side of the Jacobsen Building, 246 Fifth Ave. South, received its official grand unveiling Thursday, with artist Ali Hval and several city dignitaries in attendance to introduce the artwork to the Clinton community.

Hval is a graduate student at the University of Iowa, and along with friend Marina Ross, completed the mural in roughly a week and a half. Contacted by the university's Office of Outreach and Engagement, Hval jumped on the chance to come to Clinton and complete the mural paying tribute to the city.

"Everyone here has been so friendly and cooperative, and it's been a wonderful time," Hval said.

Featuring a white backdrop with several colored diamond patterns, Hval said the mural was originally supposed to reflect something as simple as an abstraction of the Mississippi River with a sunset shining on it.

However, after the building itself presented some unforeseen obstacles, plans changed, as well as the artists' interpretations of the mural.

"As we kind of started moving forth...we realized that we had to make (the design) break off a little bit so it would integrate with the environment," Hval said. "After that point, it was more about what the city once was, and what it's still becoming."

Several city officials were in attendance at Thursday's ceremony to recognize the work of Hval, Ross, the Downtown Clinton Alliance, and the UI Outreach program, which all collaborated on the project.

Mayor Mark Vulich lauded the efforts, highlighting the abstract aspect of the mural that allows it to be interpreted many different ways by different people who view it.

"I was looking at how to interpret (the mural), and that's the marvelous piece about abstract art," Vulich said. "Everybody can interpret it differently. I looked at it as the solid part being the actual downtown, and the pieces are the rebirth and the rebuilding of downtown's what we want to see."