A hundred miles north, a month later, ten degrees hotter and I'm here in Newton, Kansas beginning the sister project to the Tonkawa mural completed earlier this summer.
Newton was chosen as the Kansas site for the Mid-America Arts Alliance Mural Project in large part because two groups, one from Newton and the other from Bethel College in North Newton, made proposals independent of each other that emphasized different but overlapping aspects of their larger community. When the two groups discovered that they had both made proposals, they got together to share their ideas and create a new proposal that combined their efforts, thus beginning the very kind of collaboration that the MAAA Mural Project was intended to encourage.
Here in Newton, I'm joined by two esteemed assistants: Matt Farley, from Lawrence, a public artist who once tried out for the Boston Red Sox and who's installation "Frozen Assets" was recently chosen as one of the forty best public artworks in the U.S. and Canada by the non-profit, Americans for the Arts; and Erika Nelson, from Lucas, a multifaceted art maker and catsup expert who is best known for her traveling side show extravaganza " The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things".
And, thanks to the generosity of building owner Mike Combs, the Newton mural will be painted in a prime location - the north facing wall of Combs Organ Specialists.
The wall located along Main Street and adjacent to the Salvation Army Thrift Store is also the backdrop to Newton's twice-a-week farmers market, and is clearly visible from the Newton train depot where Amtrak's Southwest Chief makes east and westbound stops. We couldn't have asked for a better setting for our project.