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Dunbar mural is a splash from the past

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, August 30, 2013, at 7:15 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, August 31, 2013, at 7:31 a.m.

A splashy piece of Wichita’s past is re-emerging in the McAdams neighborhood.

Painters from Danielle Studios on Friday worked to finish a mural on the north side of the historic Dunbar Theatre, a subject of renovation efforts by local community development organization Power CDC.

The artwork is a tribute to the theater’s rich history in Wichita’s African-American community, featuring paintings of jazz greats, such as Louis Armstrong and Eartha Kitt, as well as other iconic images.

It’s the latest step in the building’s restoration, Power CDC executive director James Arbertha said.

“They represent all of the things (that took place) in the theater,” Arbertha said of the images on the mural, which took about two weeks to complete. “It’s time to start showing it off a little bit.”

The Dunbar, 1007 N. Cleveland, was built in 1941 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Power CDC began raising money to restore the theater in 2007; the costs are estimated at $750,000.

With a new roof, the mural and other exterior touches complete, Arbertha said the next task is renovating the inside.

“At the rate we are going, I suspect we’ll have it open for business at this time next year,” Arbertha said. “We are closer than we’ve ever been.”

Renovations to the Dunbar Theatre are funded through donations. To contribute, call Power CDC at 316-267-3036 or go to www.powercdc.com/dunbar.htm and click on the PayPal account.

Checks and money orders may be mailed to: James Arbertha at Power CDC, 1802 N. Hydraulic, Wichita, KS 67214.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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