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Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2012

Effort under way to replace ‘The Guardians of the Arts’ mural downtown

Lawrence muralist Dave Loewenstein is pictured with a print of his 1993 mural "Guardians of the Arts," which formerly existed on the north wall of the Signs of Life building at 722 Mass. The mural was recently painted over as repairs were needed on the building's north facade. Loewenstein is working to organize efforts to repaint the mural, which he says began his career as a community muralist.

Lawrence muralist Dave Loewenstein is pictured with a print of his 1993 mural "Guardians of the Arts," which formerly existed on the north wall of the Signs of Life building at 722 Mass. The mural was recently painted over as repairs were needed on the building's north facade. Loewenstein is working to organize efforts to repaint the mural, which he says began his career as a community muralist.

Lawrence muralist Dave Loewenstein talks about his first community mural, "Guardians of the Arts," which formerly existed on the north wall of the building at 722 Massachusetts, and the efforts being made to possibly remake it, as it was recently painted over because of repairs to the building.

January 5, 2012

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This mural in the alley between 716 and 718 Mass., called "The Guardian of the Arts," was organized by local artist Dave Loewenstein in 1993. Repairs on the wall recently covered up the mural, but Loewenstein and local business owner Clay Belcher are exploring options to possibly recreate the mural.

This mural in the alley between 716 and 718 Mass., called "The Guardian of the Arts," was organized by local artist Dave Loewenstein in 1993. Repairs on the wall recently covered up the mural, but Loewenstein and local business owner Clay Belcher are exploring options to possibly recreate the mural.

For 18 years, the vibrant colors of a community mural greeted anyone going through the walkway between 716 Mass. and 722 Mass.

But recent repair work to fix a crumbling wall on the building that houses Signs of Life covered up the well-known mural, leaving a stark white canvas.

And people noticed the absence of the mural that had become part of the downtown Lawrence culture.

Local artist Dave Loewenstein, who organized the mural painting nearly two decades ago, said he immediately received calls from people wanting to know what happened.

The mural “becomes like an old tree,” Loewenstein said. “They become sort of the place.”

Standing in front of the now-blank wall, Loewenstein talked affectionately about creating the mural, named “The Guardians of the Arts.” The idea was hatched by about two dozen community members, and aimed to celebrate the local Harvest of the Arts festival.

Loewenstein estimated that hundreds of local residents played some part in the mural.

“Anybody who walked by this alleyway, we tried to drag over and get a few brush strokes in,” he said.

It’s that community connection that has Loewenstein and Signs of Life owner Clay Belcher brainstorming ways to either re-create the original mural, or to come up with a new mural for the space.

“We’re absolutely open to doing something,” said Belcher, who explained that the $30,000 repairs to the building were needed, as chunks of the wall were falling off.

Ideas are in the preliminary stages, but Belcher said they’re hatching ways to pay for the supplies, estimated to cost about $1,000, while Loewenstein said he’d donate the labor.

If the community wants the old mural back, Loewenstein, who now paints murals across the country, said he’s happy to do that. But he’s also open to some new form of collaboration.

Either way, Loewenstein said they’ll work hard to figure out a way to add the color back into the walkway.

“Without it, these places are sort of empty of human presence,” he said.

Comments

Eric Neuteboom 2 years, 3 months ago

Just don't tell Herr Brownback...

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Getaroom 2 years, 3 months ago

Art imitating life. I was thinking of, lest anyone forget, a mural depicting a stylized sort of "John Brown like" or "Carrie Nation like"(I know kinda creepy - in drag) Koch Brothers and their rise to "Dominate and Occupy World Politics" and small portraits of their minions hanging like ornaments from a burning bush. A New Religious Political Genealogy Art form if you will. This would please The Brownbackward and that he might gaze upon his own image and be pleased and that we might be spared greater suffering under his rulership. This mural would draw tourists from around the world to view A Fine Art Representation of Local and Globalized Free Market Capitalism at it's finest moment in history. A theme that is as relevant today as it was in the Bush Era, but hush! Do not speak of the Bush Era for it is taboo and forbidden to do so in this campaign cycle. Inconvenient and embarrassing you know like Romney lying about how many jobs he created as he wielded his cost cutting ax in Corporate America. The Bain of his existence. So, could this mural be The Mt Rushmore of Kansas - in a pedestrian alley no less? The only rub here is a haunting question relating to the book store, would this mural represent signs of life or........?

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hitme 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree. Perhaps a different artist. The last mural wasn't that appealing. I'd just as soon see giant copies of album art as the last mural. (Eagles- on the border or one of these nights) (Elton John - yellow brick rd.) maybe a Kansas album cover - not the John Brown one

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LogicMan 2 years, 3 months ago

Change is good -- do something new.

A historically accurate mural depicting the raid on Lawrence would be an excellent tourist draw.

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