North Wi­chita art­work breaks the world record

The Wichita Eagle - - News - BY MATT RIEDL [email protected]­chi­taea­gle.com

A mu­ral painted on a north-Wi­chita grain el­e­va­tor has set a Guin­ness world record.

The mu­ral, which artists have been paint­ing for the last cou­ple months, has been des­ig­nated the “largest mu­ral painted by a sin­gle artist” in the world, its artists an­nounced Thurs­day.

It’s on the Beach­ner Grain el­e­va­tor at 519 E. 20th St., eas­ily vis­i­ble when driv­ing south on I-135.

The mu­ral, de­signed by Colom­bian street artist GLeo, is the work of Hor­i­zontes, a par­tially grant-funded art-and­com­mu­nity-en­gage­ment project.

It mea­sures well over 50,000 square feet, smash­ing the pre­vi­ous record — 38,701-square-foot mu­ral in Spain.

The mu­ral de­picts peo­ple of color, in­tended to rep­re­sent the res­i­dents of Wi­chita’s North End and North­east neigh­bor­hoods. It is the cul­mi­na­tion of about two years of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment in those neigh­bor­hoods.

“We’re Lati­nos, im­mi­grants, African-Amer­i­cans, women, queer peo­ple that are mak­ing the project hap­pen,” said Ar­mando Min­jarez, project di­rec­tor and cu­ra­tor of Hor­i­zontes. “We’ve been do­ing great things for a long time as peo­ple and peo­ple of color ... but we’re not of­ten cel­e­brated for our ac­com­plish­ments.

“This rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing that we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing — we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing amaz­ing, amaz­ing things.”

Min­jarez said the in­tent was not orig­i­nally to break the Guin­ness record — though after do­ing ini­tial mea­sure­ments of the el­e­va­tor, it was dis­cov­ered that the pro­posed de­sign could eas­ily break the pre­vi­ous record.

It’s still a cou­ple weeks away from com­ple­tion, as in­clement weather has cre­ated unan­tic­i­pated de­lays for the project.

Hor­i­zontes has suc­cess­fully raised $15,000 from a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to cover those ex­penses, though it’s still ac­cept­ing do­na­tions for the next few days.

It has re­ceived cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship from Fi­delity Bank, Cargill and Spirit AeroSys­tems.

The project re­ceived a $100,000 grant from the Knight Cities Chal­lenge last year. The chal­lenge is an ini­tia­tive through the Knight Foun­da­tion which “seeks new ideas that make the 26 com­mu­ni­ties where Knight in­vests more vi­brant places to live and work.” The 26 cities are com­mu­ni­ties where the Knight broth­ers once owned news­pa­pers, in­clud­ing The Ea­gle.

With that money, Hor­i­zontes has cu­rated 20 mu­rals in the North End in ad­di­tion to the mas­sive grain-el­e­va­tor project. Hor­i­zontes has hired more than 20 artists — and about 50 peo­ple to­tal — in the past 18 months to do work for the project.

“This shows you the power of the arts,” Min­jarez said Thurs­day. “It’s not just beau­ti­fy­ing neigh­bor­hoods in the city. It’s pro­vid­ing eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple that live here .... to con­tinue to thrive and live a pros­per­ous, healthy life.”

This week­end, a fundraiser is planned at Wave, 650 E. Se­cond St., to help cover those fi­nal project costs.

From 5:30 p.m. Satur­day to 2 a.m. Sun­day, there will be a silent art auc­tion as well as food, live mu­sic and raf­fles to ben­e­fit Hor­i­zontes.

All pro­ceeds from the event, $10 at the door, will go to Hor­i­zontes.

Lo­cal chef Stephanie Hand will roast a whole pig for the oc­ca­sion — a plate of food is $15.

Mu­si­cians sched­uled to play start­ing at 6 p.m. in­clude Herd of the Hun­tress, The New Im­pe­ri­al­ism, Jenny Wood, Mar­rice An­thony, Paris Jane, among oth­ers.

The silent auc­tion will fea­ture art­work by Rc Palmer, Rachel Foster, Kevin Kelly, Sara Crow, Tim Stone, An­gela Rangel, Kelsy Gos­sett Den­nis, Marco Her­nan­dez, John Ham­mer, Amanda Dick­in­son Pfis­ter, Ken­zie Bor­land, Emil­iano Molina, Denise Melinda Ir­win, Mike Miller, Delilah Reed, Josh Tripoli, Abram How­ell, Juanta Wolfe, among oth­ers.

It’s open to all ages un­til 11 p.m., after which it is re­stricted to 21 and older.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Hor­i­zontes, visit www.hor­i­zon­te­spro­ject.com or check www.face­book.com/ hor­i­zontes.project.

TRAVIS HEYING The Wi­chita Ea­gle

This gi­ant mu­ral is tak­ing shape on the side of the Beach­ner Grain el­e­va­tor near 21st Street and Topeka. The mu­ral is be­ing billed as the largest in North Amer­ica by a sin­gle artist.

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