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Plaza District Begins Street Art Program With Memorial Mural

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A program to highlight public art returns to the Plaza District.

Plaza Walls once again brings artist from around the globe to Oklahoma to paint murals around the district, and this year, local artists begin the program with a tribute to a lost friend.

The mural is a portrait of the Ezra Blum, a Plaza favorite with his favorite saying, "Hey Buddy," scrolled next to it.

"I've come out here every night and stood and looked at it," said Olivia Kavanaugh-Blum.

Along the Saints Wall on Gatewood Avenue, Kavanaugh-Blum sees a larger than life portrait of her husband Ezra, much like the personality she remembers.

"He had a big red beard, he was real loud," she said. "I think that there's not a lot of people who were as genuine as him. He was kind of magical to watch."

The couple had only been married a year when he found out he had an inoperable brain tumor. He died in January at the age of 36.

"He was a staple character here in the plaza," said Kris Kanaly, with Plaza Walls.

Ezra worked for years as a waiter in the district, so many of his friends wanted to honor him with a tribute mural.

"He always had this big jovial, big smile, huge beard and he always said 'hey Buddy,'" Kanaly said. "That was like his cliche saying."

The tribute piece is part of Plaza Walls, a rotating mural project that brings artist together to highlight street art. But Ezra's mural hit home for many of the artists in the district.

"He was such a good person," said Amanda Weathers, an artist working on Ezra's mural. "I think the story behind all this is we never know when we're going to be around or not around but it's the impact that we leave when we're not here that's important."

"I think he would be so excited that somebody did that for him that somebody ever thought to do that for him," said Kavanaugh-Blum. "This couldn't be more beautiful to honor his memory."

The murals are part of a series of pieces leading up to the Plaza Walls Expo in September, which is sponsored by Google.

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