Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release

More Information

Contact

University Relations

p (785) 864-3256
f (785) 864-3339
Oct. 9, 2006
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

New University Press book features rich tradition of mural art in Kansas

LAWRENCE — A new book, Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide, reveals a rich tradition of mural art in Kansas and offers a unique cultural tour of the state.

The University Press of Kansas book features 90 color photos of the more than 600 murals located in Kansas. Lora Jost and David Loewenstein took the photos and researched and wrote the guidebook, which lists murals in more than 160 Kansas communities. The book includes brief biographical sketches of the mural artists as well as regional locator maps and a full list all 600 murals by community.

Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, who provides the book’s foreword, describes murals as “true public art, out there for anyone to embrace or ignore.”

“These murals do not reside in the focused and hushed spaces of the art gallery; rather, they cohabit with the hustle of an urban landscape, may be stained by the vagaries of the weather, or may be forced to tolerate the daydreaming glance of a preoccupied observer,” Hardy said.

Hardy remembers as a child viewing a 1930s mural by Birger Sandzen in the Belleville post office. The mural, which includes a line of gold and blue horses approaching a Kansas stream, “continues to enliven this ordinary social space,” she said. Post offices in Lindsborg and Halstead also have murals by Sandzen, the Swedish immigrant who settled in Lindsborg and whose art is known throughout the state.

The authors found that many Kansas murals depict the past, such as scenes of early Plains Indians in Haskell Indian Nations University’s auditorium by the late Cherokee artist Franklin Gritts; the arrival of Coronado seen in the expansive “Entrada,” by Stan Herd in Liberal; and Civil War history such as “A Look Back” in the Shawnee City Hall building.

Agriculture, industry and labor are frequent themes in many cities including Seneca’s “Men of Wheat” painted in 1940 by Joe Jones in the post office and the Pittsburg Public Library’s “Solidarity,” a Wayne Wildcat mural depicting Kansas coal miners’ 1921 labor struggle. Modern themes such as space exploration is found in the Hutchinson Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Many murals splash across exteriors of a downtown building such as “The Saga of the Santa Fe” in Offerle northeast of Dodge City. Others drape farm silos such as a 9/11 inspired work by Karen Lewis of Abilene. Hays has a series of murals by local artist Rick Rupp that brighten bridge embankments.

Still others add drama to public spaces such as the state capitol, libraries and parks. Two murals featured in the book include John Steuart Curry’s painting of John Brown in the state capitol and the recently recreated 1937 “Aspects of Negro Life: Slavery through Reconstruction” by the late Aaron Douglas, in the Aaron Douglas Art Park.

Wichita has the greatest number of murals, with at least 77, said Jost. Lawrence may be second with about 57, including 10 murals found on Haskell’s campus and five on the KU campus. Other cities with several murals include Hutchinson and South Hutchinson, with a total of 21 between them; Coffeyville with 19, Salina and Great Bend each have 17 murals and Atchison has 15.

Loewenstein notes that the “90 murals just scratch the surface of the great wealth of murals in the state.”

Anticipating that some readers may know of murals that Jost and Loewenstein missed in their search, they invite Kansans to contact them by e-mail: lorajost@hotmail.com or dloewenstein@hotmail.com.

A list of the cities with murals is below.

City with mural(s) or hometowns of mural artistsBirthplace, former Kansas residence or current hometown for contemporary artists
AbileneKaren D. Lewis
Agenda
Agra
Andover
Anthony
ARCADIAJim Reed
Argonia
Arkansas CityCleo Graves
Arlington
Atchison
Atwood
Auburn
Augusta
Belle Plaine
BellevillePat Mikesell
Belvue
Benton
Blue Rapids
Bonner Springs
Bucklin
Burns
Caldwell
Cambridge
Cawker City
Clearwater
CoffeyvilleWayne Wildcat (lives in Lawrence)
Colby
Coldwater
Concordia
Copeland
Council Grove
Courtland
Covert (a ghost town between Osborne and Waldo)
Cunningham
Derby
DeSoto
Dexter
DightonMary Ann Bosley
Dodge CityTed Carlson
Downs
Edgerton
El Dorado
Elkhart
Ellis
Eskridge
Florence
FRANKFORTAnthony Benton Gude
Galva
Garden City
Gardner
GarnettRobert Cugno; Robert Logan
Geuda Springs
Glasco
Goessel
Goodland
Great Bend
Greensburg
Halstead
Hanover
Hardtner
HarperKaren Dunkelberger
HaysChad Haas (lives in Brooklyn NY)
Haysville
Herington
Hesston
HiawathaRon Allerton, KU alumus "
Hoisington
Holton
Holton Kickapoo Reservation (Holton)
Holyrood
Horton
Hoxie
Hoyt
Hugoton
Hutchinson and South HutchinsonLarry Caldwell (originally from Scott City); Edward Curiel, AvNell Mayfield"
Inman
Jetmore
Kansas City, Kan.
KANSAS CITY, MOJoe Faus; Alicia Gambino; Michael Toombs
Kingman
KinsleyJessica White-Saddler (lives in Wichita)
Larned
LawrenceAmy Carlson, KU alum; Lora Jost (originally from Newton); Cathy Ledeker; Dave Loewenstein; Missy McCoy, KU alum"
Leavenworth
Lecompton
Lewis
Liberal
LindsborgEldon Swensson
Little River
Longford
Lucas
Lyons
Manhattan
Marion
MarquetteAllan Lindfors
Marysville
Mayetta
Mayetta Potawatomi Prairie Band Reservation (Mayetta)
McPherson
Meade
Medicine Lodge
MerriamMichael Young
Miltonvale
Minneapolis
Minneola
Mission
Morland
Moundridge
Natoma
Ness City
Newton and North NewtonPhil Epp; Patrice Olais; Raymond Olais; Conrad Snider
Nickerson
Norton
Oakley
OfferleDennis Burghart
Olathe
ONAGACynthia Martin
Osawatomie
OswegoJoan Allen; E. Marie Horner
OttawaWilliam H. Howe
Overland Park
OxfordMarty Capron
PARSONSMark Switlik (lives in Phoenix)
Phillipsburg
Plains
Prairie Village
Pratt
ProtectionStan Herd (lives in Lawrence)
ROSE HILLRICK REGAN (lives in Wichita)
Russell
Sabetha
Salina
Scandia
Seneca
ShawneeCharles Goslin
Spearville
St. Benedict
Stockton
Syracuse
Tescott
Tonganoxie
Topeka
Udall
Ulysses
VermillionJoAnn Dannels (also Frankfort)
VICTORIARick Rupp
WaKeeney
Walton
Wamego
Washington
WatervilleKenny Winkenwader
Wellington
WichitaRyan Bell; Ryan Drake
Wilmore
Wilson
Winfield

-30-

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045