Carrie Rengers

Dawson Memorial Arts opens in Commerce Street arts district

Commerce Street Arts District looking north on Commerce toward the Intrust Bank Arena (left).
Commerce Street Arts District looking north on Commerce toward the Intrust Bank Arena (left). The Wichita Eagle

Winfield-based Dawson Monument Co. opened Monday in about 700 square feet at 400 S. Commerce, which is to the west of RSA Marketing’s new location across from the arena.

Office manager Luke Bowker says the space feels “surprisingly large.”

“It’s got really high ceilings, so that opens it up a lot,” Bowker says.

The company, which calls itself a memorial arts studio, has done business with Wichitans for years.

“Now we’re just trying to make it easier for customers to find us,” Bowker says.

The business will be known as Dawson Memorial Arts here.

“That opens the door for some of our non-monument business,” Bowker says. “Being in the arts district here, there is a lot of art to what we do, and everything can be customized.”

That includes fingerprint jewelry, urns and monuments with hand-drawn images and laser-etched graphics on granite in addition to identical reproductions of photos of people or animals. The company is known for deep-shape carving. It also makes urn vaults and bronze markers.

In addition to its memorial work, the company also creates granite benches and limestone rocks with people’s names or hobbies for their yards.

“We decided to give the name change a go,” Bowker says.

He says it’s something of a friendlier name.

“The word ‘monument’ kind of scares people away.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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