Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nerd Nite!

The jig is up. My cover is blown. I'm giving a presentation at Nerd Nite this Wednesday at Pachamamas. My topic " From the League Dumpster to Funky Town: Not so Hidden Economies of Good Will in Lawrence." Hope to see you there.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The completed Independence mural

Under Independence Stars
Located at the corner of Pennsylvania & Laurel
Independence, Kansas

Lead Artist  Dave Loewenstein
Assistant  Ashley Laird
Apprentice  Rachel Unruh
Special Co-Apprentices  Wanda Myers and Thea Albertson
Project Manager  Donna Rothgeb 

Painted with the help of more than seventy local volunteers

Supported by
Astra Arts Festival
National Endowment for the Arts
Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this project possible.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Independence Mural Dedication

Please Join Us
Sunday, July 13th
 corner of Laurel & Pennsylvania
Independence, KS

Hear lead artist Dave Loewenstein speak about the project and enjoy light refreshments as we cut the ribbon for this beautiful new addition to our community. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence mural design and community painting

We arrived back in Independence on July 1st to prepare the wall and start painting. I'm still working on the finer details of the color study. Here it is in process.

The design celebrates the Independence community as it gathers to watch the 4th of July fireworks and contemplate the stars behind them. Framed by the brilliant and beautiful explosions of color, picnic goers and festival attendees share a moment of awe and wonder under the evening sky. The magical and playful scene up above is characterized by Independence inspired constellations including, the Kiddy Land shoe house, Riverside Park lion, symbol of Neewollah, riverboat (drawn by a local student a school), the Little House on the Prairie cabin, one of the fish from the mural painted previously on this wall and Miss Able in her rocket ship. In silhouette along the horizon are other icons of the community like Lady Justice, the Sinclair dinosaur, baseball stadium lights and fantastic Riverside Park slides.  Groups of figures on the right and left are symbolic representations of the diversity of Independence plus a few well-known characters. On the left waving is Alf Landon, Kansas Governor and Presidential candidate, and on the right a young William Inge seeking poetic  inspiration from the festivities.

The day after Independence Day we began painting. Making our way around exploded bottle rockets and firecrackers, we started blocking in background colors for the evening sky and silhouettes along the horizon. More than 60 energetic volunteers came out to help.

Mural on day 3

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Facing EAST

On the evenings of June 27th and 28th, filmmaker Nicholas Ward premiered his short film "Facing EAST" projected onto the outside of my studio at 411 East 9th Street. The nine-minute film is composed of interviews with East Lawrence residents from a former mayor to a beloved street musician. You can watch it here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Lawrence Imagining

On Sunday, June 29th Lawrence will be one of seventeen cities across the country that help launch the new U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) with an interactive event we're calling an "Imagining." It will take place from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Stidham Union on the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University. The event is free and open to all, young and old, who are passionate about Lawrence.

Our Imagining will be a vibrant, arts-infused gathering in which we envision Lawrence's ideal future and identify creative tactics to get there. Part performance, part facilitated dialogue, part celebration, this first Imagining will bring together diverse groups of artists, organizers, and community members to imagine what our neighborhoods (and the world) might look like in the year 2034, when art’s transformative power has been fully integrated into all aspects of public life.

Conceptually, our Imagining will be inspired by fellow time-travelers like H.G. Wells, L. Frank Baum and Doctor Who, meaning we are in the design stage of building a time portal – really. Those who come to our Imagining will leave 2014 behind as they enter our handmade portal that transports them to the year 2034.

After finding their bearings in the future, groups of imaginers will work together to explore how Lawrence has been transformed after twenty years of being infused with the vision of the USDAC and probably a few ways in which that vision fell short and other interests prevailed. In order to report back to us, in the present, they’ll fashion time capsules that go in reverse, each of them placed inside a larger vessel (a giant seed or message in a bottle?) that will be transported back through the portal to the here and now.

You are encouraged to join us for this unique journey.

 Find out more about the USDAC and all of the Imaginings here  - 
And the Lawrence Journal-World article here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Astra Arts Festival mural project in Independence, Kansas

At the beginning of July, I'll be in Independence, Kansas working on a new mural for the first Astra Arts Festival.

Supported in large part by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, this new festival will compliment the community's other two well known annual gatherings, Neewollah (think Halloween backwards) and the William Inge Theater Festival. Included along with our mural project (and another mural by the graffiti artist Gear) there will be a full ten days of events that span music, theater, literature and the visual arts. 

The mural wall at the corner of Pennsylvania & Laurel

A big thanks goes out to Karla Prickett who contacted me about the project. Karla, who has been doing amazing things with the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission for years, also helped coordinate a mural I did there in 2010 called "Waiting in the Wings."

The Astra Mural Project began in earnest this March when my partner Ashley and I visited Independence to host introductory community meetings and brainstorming sessions. They were held at the Public Library, an original Carnegie Library that has been expanded and adapted to serve contemporary needs. It's a wonderful place, recognized by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012 as the best small Town Library in America.

Riverside Park Fun-Ful slide

Fun-Ful playground equipment catalog

Joined by our project manager Donna Rothgeb, mural apprentice Rachel Unruh and a host of local residents, we discussed and drew, wrote and presented, eventually coming up with enough material for at least ten murals. Among the many attributes of Independence mentioned were the countless features of Riverside Park,  Little House on the Prairie, Independence Community College, former Governor Alf Landon and Independence's long tradition of community festivals. After a couple more visits to narrow down our theme and gather some fantastic drawings from students at Jefferson Elementary School, we began putting the design together back in Lawrence.

Rachel Unruh at work on the color study

Rachel visited Lawrence in mid-June as I was putting the finishing touches on the final design and the color study was just beginning. On June 19th we met back in Independence with the design team for final approval. They gave the design an enthusiastic the thumbs up,  so we're on our way!