Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2001

Lawrence artists put murals on the map

November 15, 2001

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— Two Lawrence artists are hoping to put historical Kansas murals on the map, using grants to publish a state mural travel guide.

Lora Jost and Dave Loewenstein visited the Bourbon County courthouse Monday to view the Greek Goddess of Justice mural, which adorns the district courtroom's wall.

The pair were then to travel to Baxter Springs, Pittsburg, Oswego, Neodesha, Eureka and other communities to see more than 100 murals in two days.

"That is a very impressive work," Jost said of the Bourbon County mural.

Called the Kansas Murals Project, Jost and Loewenstein hope to use money from an assortment of public arts groups to publish "Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide."

The book will identify murals throughout the state to help potential visitors and mural enthusiasts locate and plan trips.

They also hope to develop an Internet archive and a handbook for communities to use when developing future murals.

Loewenstein's interest in the project is easy to determine. He is a mural artist. Jost appreciates the important function murals can fill in a community.

"Murals do a lot of things," Jost said. "In southwest Kansas, for example, they look at local history and were painted in a way that was designed to help raise the spirits. In metropolitan areas, they focus on important historic events."

The project is funded with a $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, $2,500 from KanArts and other contributions from the Barton County Arts Council in Great Bend, the Pelathe Community Resource Center in Lawrence and the Kansas Sampler Foundation in Inman.

Bob Burtch, a spokesman for the Kansas Arts Commission, which administers the KanArts grant, said this was the first time such emphasis has been placed on murals. Officials hope publishing the murals' locations will attract more visitors to Kansas, he said.

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