You might have seen some orange-toned postcards around town that feature, among other things, the Keeper of the Plains, Century II and a wheat field, along with a simple message: “Wichita. Wish You Were Here.”
They are the result of a project to promote the city — to its inhabitants and to the rest of the world.
It all started in April, when eight friends with backgrounds in writing, architecture, graphic design and information technology attended a workshop in town held by Peter Kageyama, author of the book “For the Love of Cities.” The participants were encouraged to dream up projects that would convey why people love Wichita and could be implemented with a $500 budget.
“We talked about everything from if Wichita had a T-shirt, what it would be, to bumper stickers and slogans and logos,” said Christina Calhoun, a freelance writer and one of the participants.
“We liked the idea of an old-school, handheld object that we could link to modern applications — we’re tracking it on Facebook, Twitter and our website. So it had some versatility, but also the vintage charm of those postcards from cities that say ‘Wish you were here’ and have an iconic image that really sums up why we wish you were here.”
At the end of the workshop, the participants voted on the best ideas, which would be awarded $500 each from the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. The postcard project won, along with a proposal for dressing the vacant display windows downtown and a water balloon fight.
The team named the postcard project From Wichita With Love and started working on the design and on finding partners who would help build a website and print 20,000 postcards.
They sent out the first bunch to their friends and family, asking them to take pictures with the postcards and upload them on Facebook, Twitter and the project’s website, FromWichitaWithLove.com.
Starting last week, they distributed postcards through local businesses such as The Donut Whole and Planet Hair on East Douglas and McCracken Guitars on Emporia.
“One thing that we’re really trying to do here is make sure (the postcards) are available at small, independent businesses that really make Wichita what it is,” Calhoun said. “So that when people want the postcard, they are actually going into places that we think make Wichita the community that we love.”
The reactions have been good so far. Calhoun said it takes her more time to park her bicycle on the street when she’s delivering postcards than to persuade businesses to display them.
“We’re not sure what our next step will be, but other versions of the postcards are a possibility, or maybe print a more fine art approach,” Calhoun said. “We are just really excited about everything we can do under the umbrella of ‘This comes from Wichita and it comes with love.’ ”