Giant mural in north Wichita begins to come alive
A mural painted on a north-Wichita grain elevator has set a Guinness world record.
The mural, which artists have been painting for the last couple months, has been designated the “largest mural painted by a single artist” in the world, its artists announced Thursday.
It’s on the Beachner Grain elevator at 519 E. 20th St., easily visible when driving south on I-135.
The mural, designed by Colombian street artist GLeo, is the work of Horizontes, a partially grant-funded art-and-community-engagement project.
It measures well over 50,000 square feet, smashing the previous record — 38,701-square-foot mural in Spain.
The mural depicts people of color, intended to represent the residents of Wichita’s North End and Northeast neighborhoods. It is the culmination of about two years of community engagement in those neighborhoods.
“We’re Latinos, immigrants, African-Americans, women, queer people that are making the project happen,” said Armando Minjarez, project director and curator of Horizontes. “We’ve been doing great things for a long time as people and people of color ... but we’re not often celebrated for our accomplishments.
“This represents everything that we are capable of doing — we are capable of doing amazing, amazing things.”
Minjarez said the intent was not originally to break the Guinness record — though after doing initial measurements of the elevator, it was discovered that the proposed design could easily break the previous record.
It’s still a couple weeks away from completion, as inclement weather has created unanticipated delays for the project.
Horizontes has successfully raised $15,000 from a crowdfunding campaign to cover those expenses, though it’s still accepting donations for the next few days.
It has received corporate sponsorship from Fidelity Bank, Cargill and Spirit AeroSystems.
The project received a $100,000 grant from the Knight Cities Challenge last year. The challenge is an initiative through the Knight Foundation which “seeks new ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.” The 26 cities are communities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers, including The Eagle.
With that money, Horizontes has curated 20 murals in the North End in addition to the massive grain-elevator project. Horizontes has hired more than 20 artists — and about 50 people total — in the past 18 months to do work for the project.
“This shows you the power of the arts,” Minjarez said Thursday. “It’s not just beautifying neighborhoods in the city. It’s providing economic opportunities for people that live here .... to continue to thrive and live a prosperous, healthy life.”
This weekend, a fundraiser is planned at Wave, 650 E. Second St., to help cover those final project costs.
From 5:30 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, there will be a silent art auction as well as food, live music and raffles to benefit Horizontes.
All proceeds from the event, $10 at the door, will go to Horizontes.
Local chef Stephanie Hand will roast a whole pig for the occasion — a plate of food is $15.
Musicians scheduled to play starting at 6 p.m. include Herd of the Huntress, The New Imperialism, Jenny Wood, Marrice Anthony, Paris Jane, among others.
The silent auction will feature artwork by Rc Palmer, Rachel Foster, Kevin Kelly, Sara Crow, Tim Stone, Angela Rangel, Kelsy Gossett Dennis, Marco Hernandez, John Hammer, Amanda Dickinson Pfister, Kenzie Borland, Emiliano Molina, Denise Melinda Irwin, Mike Miller, Delilah Reed, Josh Tripoli, Abram Howell, Juanta Wolfe, among others.
It’s open to all ages until 11 p.m., after which it is restricted to 21 and older.