A hundred miles north, a month later, ten degrees hotter and I'm here in Newton, Kansas beginning the sister project to the Tonkawa mural completed earlier this summer.
Newton was chosen as the Kansas site for the Mid-America Arts Alliance Mural Project
in large part because two groups, one from Newton and the other from
Bethel College in North Newton, made proposals independent of each
other that emphasized different but overlapping aspects of their larger
community. When the two groups discovered that they had both made
proposals, they got together to share their ideas and create a new
proposal that combined their efforts, thus beginning the very kind of
collaboration that the MAAA Mural Project was intended to encourage.
Here in Newton, I'm joined by two esteemed assistants: Matt Farley, from Lawrence, a public artist who once tried out for the Boston Red Sox and who's installation "Frozen Assets" was recently chosen as one of the forty best public artworks in the U.S. and Canada
by the non-profit, Americans for the Arts; and Erika Nelson, from
Lucas, a multifaceted art maker and catsup expert who is best known for
her traveling side show extravaganza " The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things".
thanks to the generosity of building owner Mike Combs, the Newton mural
will be painted in a prime location - the north facing wall of Combs
wall located along Main Street and adjacent to the Salvation Army
Thrift Store is also the backdrop to Newton's twice-a-week farmers
market, and is clearly visible from the Newton train depot where
Amtrak's Southwest Chief makes east and westbound stops. We couldn't have asked for a better setting for our project.