ST. LOUIS – Something big is on the rise at Missouri’s iconic last stop for drivers headed east through Downtown St. Louis.

It’s a roughly 25’ by 100’ mural at the “Last Missouri Exit” from eastbound Interstate 64, the 6th Street exit adjacent to Busch Stadium. “Last Missouri Exit” signage adorns the exit ramp and sticks in the minds of nearly everyone who is at all familiar with downtown.

“The last Missouri exit being so familiar, (the mural is) kind of broken into linear segments so that as you pass by, it sort of reveals itself kind of rhythmically,” said artist William Lachance of Webster Groves.

“Somebody turns a corner, in this case an exit ramp, and it’s like, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’ That alone enlivens people. Whatever mood they were in before: instant change,” said painter Robert Fishbone, who, along with Lachance, makes up the two-member team working on the “Last Exit” mural.

The pair is painstakingly carrying out Lachance’s vision of using about 100 contrasting shapes and colors to transform a storage building directly behind Paddy O’s bar and grill.

The mural is part of a new lineup of downtown murals from Greater St. Louis Inc., which promotes economic growth in St. Louis.

“Downtowns are not made with one or two big projects. They’re made with hundreds and, over the years, thousands of singles, bunts, doubles, and triples,” said Kurt Weigle, Chief Downtown Officer for Greater St. Louis Inc.

Greater St. Louis Inc. identified the location and worked with the building owner, who had part of the building tuckpointed to prepare for the mural and is also now donating some of the paint.

Lachance’s design was selected from multiple proposals from area artists.

“It’s part of a much bigger plan to activate downtown through events, public art like this; everything coming together to make downtown feel and be more vibrant,” Weigle said.

New details are coming soon about something called “Markets on Market,” Weigle said.

That, along with events like “Lunchtime Live” on the Old Post Office Plaza, Party on the Plaza (Kiener Plaza), and City Social, are aimed at reshaping downtown’s vibe.

“Art and culture is the way you do that,” Fishbone said. “We’re hoping St. Louis gets known not just for sports and our downtown institutions, but the very vibrant art scene. There’s still room for a lot of murals in St. Louis.”

“When murals are really effective, they’re painted somewhere where they almost don’t belong or it’s unlikely. So, there’s that strong contrast or strong impression that there’s something new that’s been created there,” Lachance said. “(This is) an abstract design so there’s no specific narrative … I wanted it to be accessible and enjoyable to passersby at 35 miles per hour. As anonymous as you think it might be, when you get here, you begin to recall all of your trips downtown for whatever reason.”

Lachance and Fishbone have been working at the site for about three weeks. They expect to finish the mural by the end of June.