Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Called to Walls" Premiere in Lawrence, KS!

“Out of view of the high art world and the hip gallery scene comes this heartening story of unlikely partners in middle American working together to reexamine their histories, celebrate what makes their towns unique, and imagine their futures in the form of monumental community murals led by Lawrence artist Dave Loewenstein. Called to Walls is a thoughtful and uplifting film that not only leaves viewers reassessing their notions of art, but also with an itch to go out and do it themselves!”
Go to the "Called to Walls" website for more information

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Save Our State

"Save Our State"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Grandpa's second act as a sculptor

My grandfather on my mom's side spent most of his working life employed with the family's file and index company in Kankakee, Illinois. Although it wasn't where his true passion lay (he preferred building stuff), he did his best. In 1954, when grandpa Gil was forty-six, he had a heart attack. A few years later he had a second one, which inspired him to take early retirement. With his kids, including my mom, in college and just enough savings, grandpa Gil resolved to pursue his true passion - sculpture.

For the next fifteen years he studied and created, producing a remarkable body of work in a wide range of materials. He also kept a scrapbook that documented his new vocation, including photos, articles, show announcements and other ephemera. Recently this scrapbook was handed down to me from my mom. This winter, I put together a little book based on it to share with family and friends.

You can check it out for yourself here (click on the image).

Grandpa Gil died when I was just four, but I have always felt a strong connection to him -  especially as an artist. I remember the two of us sitting outside of his and my grandma's Carmel, California apartment picking up and examining stones in their driveway. With great care and seriousness we shared our observations and curiosities. It is one of my first memories.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Studio Open House!

Saturday, December 19th 
411 East 9th Street
Noon - 6pm

Check out the latest cool stuff from me and my friends Amber Hansen, Nicholas Ward and Jill Ensley +  a sneak preview of the soon to be released documentary "Called to Walls." There will be treats...

SOS - Save Our State

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Interview on Kansas City public radio

I was a guest on KCUR's program Central Standard along with Hector Casanova and Amber Hansen to discuss murals and the upcoming documentary "Called to Walls." You can listen to the interview here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cordley mural gets new paint, tells old story

by Rochelle Valverde
originally published in the Lawrence Journal-World
October 20, 2015

History tends to grow dimmer with time, but one story from Lawrence’s past was literally fading with the years. The mural on the exterior wall of Cordley Elementary School, which depicts a story involving the school’s namesake and a runaway slave known as Lizzie, had weathered in the nearly 15 years since it was painted. A recently completed addition and renovation of the 100-year-old school, located at 1837 Vermont St., did not forget the mural on the north facade. Despite an addition to the school’s northeast side that intersects with the mural, the wall was left intact and funds were allocated to completely restore the mural, said Lawrence artist Dave Loewenstein.

“Principal (Scott) Cinnamon was really insistent that the mural be a part of the new school, and you can see they worked around it,” Loewenstein said as he added fresh paint to the mural this week.
The mural depicts a story from Lawrence’s Underground Railroad, represented by the railroad tracks that run across the bottom, Loewenstein said. It tells of the time Richard Cordley, a Massachusetts abolitionist who was new to Lawrence in 1859, was asked to harbor a runaway slave named Lizzie. Cordley’s house — located on Vermont Street about two blocks from the school — was thought to be a safer option for Lizzie because authorities may check other homes first.

Lawrence muralist Dave Loewenstein tosses a paint brush in a bucket as he repaints his mural, "A Thousand Miles Away," on the north side of Cordley Elementary School, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. The mural depicts an Underground Railroad scene involving a slave named Lizzie and Lawrence abolitionists Rev. Richard Cordley (not pictured) and his wife Mary. Loewenstein will be glazing the mural on Wednesday as the last step before it is completed. by Nick Krug

The circumstances inspired a quote attributed to Cordley in 1859, on the topic of putting one’s theoretical beliefs into action: “It is easy to be brave a thousand miles away. But now I must face the question at short range.” The mural, titled “A Thousand Miles Away,” shows Lizzie’s concealment at the Cordleys’ house and eventual safe escape to Canada. The idea that even heroes get scared is a great lesson for kids, Loewenstein said. “We love that quote because it says so much about the challenges, fear and responsibility of engaging in work like this — for social justice,” he said.

Loewenstein originally painted the mural in 2001 after compiling sketches of the story that Cordley students made at the time. He has spent about two weeks restoring the mural with the help of another Lawrence artist, Nicholas Ward. The restoration was originally planned for the summer, but Loewenstein said he’s glad that in the end he’s working on it while school is in session. “It’s really been better to have students around,” he said. “They ask a million questions.”

Loewenstein said the kids know him and the story really well now, and he’ll hear them discussing it among themselves on the blacktop. The kids have even gone as far as to offer him tips or critiques as he’s painting, Loewenstein said. In addition to the story itself, it’s good for the students to see the process. “I think it’s really cool for kids to see artists at work,” he said. “We see actors perform and musicians play, but we don’t often see visual artists at work.” The repainting of the mural is almost done, and Loewenstein said he plans to add the final varnish to complete the project on Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Found jumprope drawings

While restoring the 2001 mural "A Thousand Miles Away" at Cordley Elementary School, I stumbled upon a jumprope left on the playground blacktop. Walking around it, revealed these accidental drawings.