Art career is taking flight for UNI graduate Caylin Jayde

Art career is taking flight for UNI graduate Caylin Jayde

Anna Flanders /

From finishing her first mural to being featured in “New American Paintings” to having a viral TikTok, it’s been quite the year for Caylin Jayde. The 28-year-old UNI graduate is fulfilling the dreams she’s had for over two decades.

“I pretty much decided what I wanted to do when I grew up when I was like four,” she said. “I've always been drawing and painting. It's the way I express myself. Creating feels as natural as eating. To me, it’s just what I do.”

Created last summer, Caylin’s mural can be found under the downtown Cedar Falls bridge along the Cedar River. It is her first public art project. She was inspired by her love of Cedar Falls and the namesake of the city she still calls home.

Caylin Jayde standing next to mural of Cedar Waxwings birds eating berries from trees

“The mural is a celebration of the Cedar Falls namesake and a tribute to the natural beauty of our community,” Caylin explained. “The river is named after the red cedar trees, which grow berries that are eaten by Cedar Waxwings that frequently fly in groups near the river.”

When the City of Cedar Falls posted applications on social media for artists to design three murals, Caylin was tagged in the comments numerous times.

“There’s really positive support for the arts in Cedar Falls that makes me feel welcome here,” she said. “I love that about our city.”

Caylin’s application was ultimately selected, and now community members and tourists alike can enjoy the results of labor.

While the encouragement of others drew Caylin to apply for the Cedar Falls mural, she submitted some of her work to the critically-acclaimed art periodical “New American Paintings” just to see what the submission process was like. She never dreamed her art would be chosen for publication.