Keeper of the Plans

Beautiful new mural painted in Wichita to cover sloppy gang graffiti

Heidi Cruz, who modeled for Brady Scott’s new mural at the NoMar Theater, poses with the artwork.
Heidi Cruz, who modeled for Brady Scott’s new mural at the NoMar Theater, poses with the artwork. Cou

A new mural in north Wichita has been painted, replacing one that was damaged beyond repair.

Last summer, as part of the Horizontes Summer Mural Jam, Hutchinson-based street artist Brady Scott painted a stunning white horse on the back side of the old NoMar Theater, 2141 N. Market.

Shortly after the horse mural went up, vandals spray-painted an extra appendage on the artwork.

That was quickly fixed, Scott said, and the artwork was not touched again until recently.

A few weeks ago, the mural was discovered covered with “sloppy” tags from the ground to about 7 feet high — names and a “SUR-13” gang tag, he said.

“This is the only mural I’ve ever had anything like that happen, and I’ve painted in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and all over Kansas,” Scott. “It was kind of disheartening but I was excited about the opportunity to paint again.”

The Basham family, which owns the building, paid for new spray paint for Scott to paint over all the graffiti, and Sherwin-Williams donated a base coat of paint.

Members of Wichita’s Significant Other Car Club paid for a special anti-graffiti clear coat of paint to protect the new mural, which is painted 10 feet off the ground.

Brandon Findley, the city’s community services representative for the area, coordinated the effort.

The new mural features a portrait of Wichita artist Heidi Cruz, along with floral elements and signs for the NoMar area.

Scott said he was able to use new painting skills he’s developed in the last year to create an even better mural.

“I looked at it as a glass-half-full type of thing,” he said. “Heidi is an awesome person and she’s got this beautiful, classic style to her, so I thought it’d be great to paint her portrait up there and add some flowers and nature.”

Besides being a vandalism deterrent, the new mural’s height — 10 feet off the ground — better allows people to take selfies and such in front of the artwork.

“It’s another positive of making it higher,” he said.

Wichita’s North End neighborhood has for decades been known for its bright and colorful murals.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.