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Runners become painters in Ballet Wichita 5K Art Run

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 2:26 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, June 17, 2012, at 8:52 a.m.

Runners will have the opportunity to put their own footprint on June 23’s Ballet Wichita 5K Art Run by taking part in a community-based painting project after their run.

Organizers believe the event is the first of its kind.

Event organizer Mark Chamberlin really wanted the event to stand out. He liked the idea of incorporating some sort of performance art.

“The whole event is about celebrating art,” he said. “What if we took the feet of the runners and used them as brushes? I think that would have a huge visual impact.”

To help bring this idea to fruition, Mark consulted Reuben Saunders of Artworks, who suggested that he get in touch with Los Angeles-based artist Rachel Kice. Nationally known, her background in dance and experience in creating works of art for charities to auction off made her a natural fit for the project. She’s also a Wichita native with a history of involvement in the local arts community.

“She’s so much fun,” said Barbara Chamberlin, Ballet Wichita’s Executive Director and Mark Chamberlin’s wife. “She’s a Wichita girl with a very open, young mind. She accepted this challenge with enthusiasm.”

Kice will oversee the execution of the Footprint Project at the end of the run in the amphitheater at A. Price Woodard Park, 401 W. Douglas, about 100 yards south of the finish line. Participating is voluntary for runners and is limited to registered runners.

A large piece of vinyl donated by Clear Channel Outdoor, measuring 48 by 14 feet, will serve as the canvas. The painting will be a coordinated effort that will allow runners to create a large piece of original art. They’ll cover the soles of their shoes with paint, then run across the canvas to leave an artistic impression of their race. Specific instructions will be given to each person so that the piece flows well. Ballet dancers also will add some flair by twirling their shoes in paint and dancing across the canvas.

After everyone has had a chance to make their mark, Kice will add in elements to transform the collage of footprints into an actual painting. The finished product will be displayed on one of Clear Channel’s outdoor billboards about a week or so after the race. It also will be used for marketing next year’s run. Mark Chamberlin stressed that care is being taken to ensure proper cleanup of the park as well as safety in water removal.

“I’ve never heard of another event where runners can become artists,” he said. “The whole thing is open to the public. Anyone can watch the whole process even if they aren’t racing. I’m excited to see the running community embrace the arts community. It’s fitness and the arts coming together for an important project.”

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