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Ballet Wichita unveils artwork created by runners

Runners start  the Ballet Run Wichita Saturday morning, June 22, 2013,  at A. Price Woodard Park.
Runners start the Ballet Run Wichita Saturday morning, June 22, 2013, at A. Price Woodard Park. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita motorists may notice something unusual near the intersection of Kellogg and Ridge Road: a new work of public art among the billboards advertising retail sales and cable TV deals.

Last month, Ballet Wichita sponsored a 5-kilometer run along the Arkansas River. After the runners crossed the finish line, volunteers stood with paint rollers in hand, ready to slather the soles of their running shoes – or their bare feet – in colorful paint.

Runners then walked across a canvas, 35 by 14 feet, leaving a collection of red, yellow, blue and orange footprints. Barbara Yarnell Chamberlin, Ballet Wichita’s executive director, said about 220 participants loaned their colorful footprints to the project, which was unveiled Friday morning.

Rachel Kice, a native Wichitan and performance artist now based in California, planned the art project and oversaw its implementation. Chamberlin said Kice had a solid vision for the final product and directed participants to use specific colors and walk across particular sections of the canvas.

Chamberlin said that next year’s race will feature three to four different public art projects. She said she hopes the event draws more of Wichita’s young professionals into the arts scene and that the same people who support the ballet will also support the symphony, the art museum and other artistic endeavors throughout the city.

“We’re so lucky to live in this little mecca of artistic activity,” Chamberlin said.

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