Friday, December 30, 2011

Guardians of the Arts

"Guardians of the Arts" one of my very first (1993) community murals was painted over today in order to help repair the wall it was on. I have offered to restore it for the cost of materials - about $1,000. If you want the mural restored, please tell folks at Signs of Life bookstore and the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission how you feel. 
Many thanks, Dave

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Together poster

Please feel free to print, post, and share.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Occupy Poster

"Tip of the Iceberg"
Feel free to print and share.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Poster for the 99%

Feel free to copy, print, and post.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joplin Mural on PBS

click below to see a great piece about the new mural in Joplin, MO
"The Butterfly Effect - Dreams Take Flight"
New Joplin Mural Tells Story of the Storm

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Called to Walls" the documentary

Help support "Called to Walls" by pledging on Kickstarter!

Out of view of the high art world and the hip gallery scene comes this heartening story of unlikely partners in Middle American communities working together to reexamine their histories, celebrate what makes their towns unique, and imagine their futures in the form of monumental community murals. This film is part road movie, part inspirational small town drama, and part art documentary. Working in conjunction with Mid America Arts Alliance's "The Mural Project," this compelling story follows Kansas artist Dave Loewenstein, on a three-year journey around the heart of the US, helping to reignite a sense of civic pride and creative possibility in places often overlooked. "Called to Walls" is a thoughtful and uplifting film that leaves viewers not only admiring the serious work and good will of these artists, but also with an itch to go out and do it themselves.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Murals featured in the latest NEA Magazine

Click on the link below to check out a feature about some of my murals in the new National Endowment for the Arts magazine.

Part of Community Life:

The Murals of Dave Loewenstein

Waiting in the Wings, 2010 Salina, Kansas

Friday, July 8, 2011

Contagious Beauty + Local Flavor

New Project at the Great Mural Wall of Topeka

Find out more at -

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welling Court Mural Project in NYC

I'm thrilled to be included in this special street art event in Queens, New York. Come check us out if you're in the area. We'll be painting Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th. In addition, on Saturday there's a block party with all sorts of great food, drink, and music.

for more info check out - Ad Hoc Art's website here

Ad Hoc Art Mural Project
at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens, NYC

– An Art Event Celebrating the Streets, Solidarity, Community, and Culture –

WHAT: The community of Welling Court in Queens, New York first asked Ad Hoc Art to help them spruce up their neighborhood in 2009. Ad Hoc Art was honored to do so and rose to the occasion in May 2010 organizing a project fitting for the diverse, enthusiastic, and energetic inhabitants. Now, a year later, Ad Hoc has assembled another spectacular crew of legendary and groundbreaking artists spanning more than 50 years of activity for the 2nd Annual Welling Court Mural Project. The project has received remarkable global acclaim since its launch and continues to garner support as more walls, artists, and enthusiasts augment that success.

This second round is not to be missed as we bring ever-more art and eyes to this Queens gem. To celebrate, the community’s annual block party coincides with the project’s opening, featuring cuisine and music from the ethnically diverse and multi-talented hosts. Whereas this tiny neighborhood is providing some major hospitality, it cannot provide for all the thousands of attendees, so please:

The project transforms several city blocks into a 24/7 street-level gallery, bringing art from around the world directly to the heart of this community. Renowned artists with deep roots in the street movement have created site-specific works for this project and many will showcase various creative sundries for your perusal. This new array of visual experiences provides fresh contexts for how people working, visiting, and living in this diverse cultural gem of Queens think about and interact with their environment.

Artists include: Alice Mizrachi, Ashley Jane Laird, Alison Buxton, Beau Stanton, Bunnie Reiss, Caleb Neelon, Chris Mendoza, Chris Stain, Celso, Cern, Cey Adams, Chor Boogie, Cicelia Ross-Gotta, CR, Cycle, Dan Witz, Darkclouds, Dave Loewenstein, Don Leicht, Ellis Gallagher, Ezra Li Eismont, Free5, Garrison Buxton, Greg Lamarche, Ise, Jesse Jones, JMR, Joe Iurato, John Ahearn, John Fekner, Jordan Seiler, Katie Yamasaki, Lady Pink, Leon Reid, Matt Siren, Michael De Feo, Michael Fumero, MIMEO, Mr. Kiji, Neko, Nuria, OverUnder, Pablo Power, R. Nicholas Kuszyk, ROA, Ron English, Royce Bannon, Sinned, Sofia Maldonado, TooFly, Tristan Eaton, Veng RWK, Zam, and more.

WHEN: Saturday, June 25th, 2011 from noon until 9pm.

WHERE: 11-98 Welling Court {@ 30th Ave & 12th Street}, Astoria, Queens 11102

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New show in L.A.

I have a dream, I have a nightmare
Ad Hoc Art brings together 34 international artists to explore dreams, nightmares, superstitions, and existence.

Opening Friday, May 13th

New Puppy Gallery
2808 Elm Street
Los Angeles, CA

Artists include: Alison Buxton, Beau Stanton, Bill Fick, Broken Crow, Bunnie Reiss, Chor Boogie, Chris Stain, CRASH, Dabs & Myla, Daryll Peirce, Dave Loewenstein, Don Leicht, Ezra Li Eismont, Garrison Buxton, Hellbent, Joe Iurato, John Breiner, John Carr, John Fekner, Jordan Seiler, Know Hope, Lady Pink, Michael De Feo, Mikal Hameed, Paul Booth, Peat Wollaeger, Ray Cross, Rex Dingler, ROA, Robert Steel, Sean Starwars, TheDirtyFabulous, & Thundercut.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Only in Lawrence - profile

from the Lawrence Journal-World

April 29, 2011

Dave Loewenstein and the murals he paints have a great deal in common: They are colorful, tell fascinating stories and have far-reaching impact.

Loewenstein, 44, is an artist, muralist, printmaker, teacher, author, community activist, documentarian and social catalyst, who has lived in Lawrence doing all of these things since 1990. He is also a founding member and current chair of the Percolator, a non-profit that brings new art and cultural events to Lawrence and Douglas County.

He came to Lawrence to attend graduate school for his master’s degree of fine arts from Kansas University. During his studies, he realized that he wanted his art to serve a greater purpose.

“I wanted what I was doing somehow to reach audiences outside the established art audience, to people I meet every day,” Loewenstein says. “I also felt like there was a social purpose for visual art that wasn’t being used enough — to engage in important issues of the day.”

Loewenstein has created murals throughout Kansas and the Midwest. Locally, his murals can be found at Cordley School, the Lawrence Farmers’ Market and Quinton’s Bar & Deli, home to his first mural.

He travels about half of the year to communities to talk about the most important issues in their community and create murals to be shared with generations to come. While planning his murals, he enjoys the opportunity to meet people and expose them to the visual arts.

“One of the many discussions that needs to be re-framed in our culture is the one about art,” he says. “Artists have always had the incredible power to highlight when things are wrong and the power to influence. Murals involve re-engaging with the visual environment and creating something that is a reflection of people and places.”

Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of KU’s Spencer Museum of Art, knows Loewenstein and his approach to art and culture.

“He doesn’t think of art as a rarefied commodity; he thinks of it as part of community life,” she says. “He is not a one-man form. He involves many collaborators, which is a good model for community art.”

Loewenstein has designed and printed posters for many anti-war protests, starting with the Gulf War in 1991-92, influenced by historical wartime posters.

“Printmaking is a way for me to respond to the issues of the day. There are not enough voices of dissent — I don’t care what side you’re on,” he says. “There are maybe more online and less face-to-face, and that concerns me.”

Loewenstein and other members and visitors to the Percolator studio space, which is just east of the Lawrence Arts Center, regularly have the chance to have those face-to-face discussions about issues and art. Besides showcasing artists’ work, Percolator members also generate their own artwork, invite artists to speak and host workshops.

Christina Hoxie, Percolator board member, says the open-endedness of the Percolator is what makes it special.

“Its prime mission is to stimulate the community to make arts and do cultural projects important to them,” Hoxie says. “It’s tapping into the imagination of the community and seeing what they want to do.”

She says that Loewenstein is the ideal facilitator for the Percolator.

“He is a great mentor, not just as an artist. The community is transformed by his artwork every day, and making sure everyone has a part to play is a big part of who he is,” Hoxie says. “Even his smaller works show what an insightful person that he is and carry his spirit of always encouraging others to participate.”

Reece Hardy says that Loewenstein’s energy and community involvement come through in his art.

“He has an unusual ability to bring economy to a complex set of ideas,” Reece Hardy says. “Sometimes that takes the vehicle of a poster, sometimes it takes the vehicle of a mural. He likes to communicate directly and strips any protective barrier between people and art.”

Loewenstein is creating art for a downtown show called “Them,” which will discuss NIMBYs — “not in my backyard” scenarios. He teaches a class about community art at Washburn University, he is co-producing his second documentary about his art, and he is waiting to hear if he will go abroad next fall as part of an art program with the State Department.

Loewenstein is happy he came to Lawrence.

“This is a place I care about and I feel some responsibility to,” he says. “I’m super-grateful to have all the work I do on all fronts.”

Watch a short video of Dave talking about making a living as an artist here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

THEM - a preview

Come see my new show, THEM, now through April 23rd

Invisible Hand Gallery
12 - 5 Tuesday - Thursday
12 - 7 Friday & Saturday

801 1/2 Massachusetts (upstairs)
Lawrence, KS

Click here for a short review of the show.

And below a preview...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Show at the Invisible Hand

friday, march 25th

An installation of cut-paper tableaus that follow Drones, Nimbys, and Frame-up Specialists as they try to rid their back yards, business districts, and border towns of Them.
at the Invisible Hand
upstairs at 801 1/2 Massachusetts
Lawrence, KS

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rally art featured on Studio 360

Art made by me and other Lawrence Percolators is featured on a new segment of the nationally syndicated NPR arts program Studio 360. Listen below to the interview with Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz who is trying to garner enough votes to block the Governor's proposal to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A letter in support of the Kansas Arts Commission

Art advocates from across the state have done an excellent job warning us about the potential loss in tourism dollars and arts-related jobs that Kansas would suffer if the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission were approved. I agree with their dire assessment and believe that these arguments alone should be enough to convince our legislators to put the breaks on this misguided proposal.

But there is another case to be made if we really want to understand why art is integral to our communities, state, and nation. We need to support art (at least at the current yearly rate of .29 cents per person) because art is the discipline engaged in exploring the language of stories - stories of where we have been, who we are, and how we want to be remembered. This work, this research and experimentation into those qualities that make us human and humane, is essential to the growth and maintenance of a healthy democratic society. And like science, art needs public support precisely because its benefits accrue slowly, cannot be easily quantified, and are absolutely necessary.

Theater, music, film, dance, poetry, painting. Artists young and old working in these media are at the forefront of shaping our shared identity as Kansans. Support for the Kansas Arts Commission, which gives all of us access to this creative world, is essential because, as Topeka born poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote in a poem from 1970, “ We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best - Known Unknown Aritist in KS

Travel across Kansas and you're likely to spot a Dave Loewenstein mural. He's made his mark in Garden City and Dodge City, in Great Bend and Hutchinson, in Newton, Salina, Topeka, Kansas City and in his hometown of Lawrence, host to a dozen Loewenstein murals — and his mark is much more than paint.

Loewenstein describes his mural process as "part street instillation, part performance piece, and part social intervention." Local participants — often in smaller, rural communities — are involved in every step of the process. He engages directly and openly with the townspeople, translating their thoughts into images, their actions into dance.

Loewenstein has completed 75 murals across the nation, and one in Northern Ireland. His mural-making schedule for 2011 is booked solid. Yet he finds time to produce countless editions of his often politically charged stencil prints and posters (included in four published anthologies of activist art in the past two years), and to serve on the board of the Lawrence Percolator, "a place where artists and audiences can interact comfortably," of which he is a founding member.

And there's more. This spring, Loewenstein takes his art off the street and into the halls of academia, teaching a class called "Roots and Practices: Community-Based Public Art" at Washburn University in Topeka. He is also an accomplished writer: Blank Canvas, his now-retired blog on, took the Kansas Press Association's 1st Place Columnist award in 2007. He is the co-author, with Lawrence artist Lora Jost, of Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide, now in its second edition from University Press of Kansas. Discussing topics for this interview, Loewenstein winces at the term "community art."
Tom King: What's wrong with saying 'community art?'
Dave Loewenstein: I don't like how it's characterized sometimes. It puts me in a box. People figure they know what it is: simple, pedestrian — not 'Art.' Anytime you collaborate with so-called non-artists and passers-by, many people in the 'Art' community belittle it: 'Oh, it's just kids painting murals, just paint slapped on a wall.'
TK: What is it, then?
DL: Murals are part of it, of course; murals are the focus. The art really matters. But for me, where the mural used to be the end goal, now the scope is much broader. The mural process is an opportunity to engage people to manifest something they couldn't do on their own. Murals are what get me in the door, because people understand that idea. But then we get going on other things that can happen, and suddenly you've got a roomful of disparate people having a conversation about making something. Then things really get interesting.

Dave Loewenstein, detail of "The Imagineers," in Newton, Kansas, completed in September 2010. Image: courtesy of the artist

For example: the last mural we did, The Imagineers, was in Newton, Kansas, in the Salvation Army parking lot where kids would hang out and drink beer on weekends. We moved in, working day and night, and the kids got interested. We started showing movies on the wall at night, and pretty soon most of town came to visit.

Sara Dick, one of our design team members, stopped by. She was back from a Liz Lerman dance workshop in Washington and was eager to choreograph something in the Lerman mode. She took note of what was going on, all the people from all walks of life. She organized everyone, and, at the mural dedication ceremony, premiered a dance she choreographed based on the parking lot scene — the locals were the dancers.* But the great thing was, as soon as the dance was over, people were asking, 'When's the next one?'

Sara Dick (far right) leads citizens of Newton, Kansas, in a dance rehearsal in front of Dave Loewenstein's "The Imagineers." Image: courtesy of the artist

TK: They're hungry for it.
DL: You know they are. When you take creativity out of the 'Art' context, everyone's included. And because you engage people in the place where they live, the possibilities increase. You're not bound by the walls and strictures of a gallery or a scene, but you still want to do the most sophisticated work you can, given the situation and the resources. You don't want to dumb down the art; you want to keep the bar high. People respond best to a worthy challenge.
TK: "The Mural Project: Dave Loewenstein" is featured on the front page of the Mid-America Arts Alliance's website. What's the story?
DL: First of all, working with people who can make things happen and understand what you're doing is amazing. Realistic budgets and schedules, and art students as helpers! And documentation! Film maker Nick Ward documented the two murals we did this year in Kansas and Oklahoma. The documentary aspect was the most challenging art I've ever done, working on so many levels and with so many variables. Everything was up for grabs! How did it happen? A call from Mary McCabe a couple of years ago.

Mary Kennedy McCabe is the executive director for Mid-America Arts Alliance, founded in 1972 and based in Kansas City, Missouri. Mid-America Arts Alliance — in partnership with the state art agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas — supports and administers a wide range of performances, exhibitions and educational programs connecting with over one million Midwesterners annually.
"I learned about Dave's work in 2008 — the Great Wall of Topeka mural," says McCabe. "I invited him to speak about his work to the (M-AAA) staff, and after the presentation, we floated the idea of a mural project. This year, we got the funding to do a pilot program in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, and Newton, Kansas."

Dave Loewenstein, "Listening Back, Dreaming Forward," in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, completed in May 2010. Image: courtesy of the artist

The pilot mural project — a partnership with the Kansas Arts Commission and the Oklahoma Arts Council — had stringent qualifications. Towns had to apply for the murals, and each of the finalist communities was visited by a selection committee, which included Loewenstein, before the murals were awarded. "It was a detailed set-up process. We wanted to make sure that each community knew that Dave's mural was not going to be your standard chamber-of-commerce production," McCabe says. "We had to be confident that that the community was ready, willing, and able to fully participate in the project."

McCabe prizes the positive results of Loewenstein's work. "At M-AAA, we hold a core value that cultural expression is intrinsic to human beings. Our mission is to help people and communities express themselves," she says. "With Dave, the real work of art is the process that occurs. To me, the mural is an artifact of that process." The M-AAA's collaboration with Loewenstein is a step-by-step affair, contingent primarily on funding. A project in Missouri is in the works for 2011.

Dave Loewenstein, "Droned," spray paint stencil, 26" x 40". Image: courtesy of the artist

TK: Your politics and activism imbue almost everything you make.
DL: I'm more of an activist in my printmaking and stencils, but it gets into the murals too. A lot of artists doing public work steer clear of the politics, but I'm responding to the conversations I have with the locals. If a political issue rises to the surface, let's put it in the mural. We're not going to pussy-foot around this stuff. I started using stencils in 1991 at KU. Activism was in the air, people protesting everywhere. Stencils were an immediate, efficient, and cheap method of communication, and I could put an image or a message anywhere — on the street, buildings, cars, placards, or on a nice sheet of paper. I went crazy with stencils on the KU campus. It opened a whole new thing for me. I liked the anonymity, the different audience. Activism, for me, is a natural response to a certain kind of situation. Maybe I'm just working things out for myself. I deal with my concerns by making something, and sometimes I make the politics obvious. I have lots of ideas and they need to be realized in different ways. A good artist finds the right outlet.
TK: Are you a Banksy fan?
DL: Some of it. I'm not so sure he's one guy anymore. My dream would be that he's 50 people, not necessarily aware of each other. That's my kind of anarchism.

Dave Loewenstein, detail of "Nickels and Dimes," 22" x 210". Image: courtesy of the artist

TK: Works like Nickels and Dimes are part of an ongoing series of large-scale drawings which you describe as 'Wordless Short Stories.' They look like cartoon strips without speech balloons.
DL: They started with looking out the window of a bar or coffee shop, watching the street characters. Like overhearing, but overseeing. I thought if I eliminated words and let viewers fill in the narrative, they'd have an experience somewhat similar to my overseeing. Like storyboards. In fact, they opened a whole new thing for me — that was the first time I thought about working with film makers. Ultimately, they are a selfish pleasure: not about collaboration, not about politics, just daydreaming scenarios. They're hard work, but a joy to make.
TK: Your role in the mural process is, in large part, that of teacher. Now that role is official: this spring, you're leading a class at Washburn University in Topeka.
DL: That's another connection from the Great Wall in Topeka. One of the mural assistants was a student at Washburn and put me in touch with Glenda Taylor, the chair of the art department. I proposed a class, "Roots and Practices," and she liked it. It runs January through May 2011, about 18 students. There's a significant learning curve, so half of the class will be reading, lectures, and guest speakers. For the second half, we'll pick a few sites around town and the students will develop specific public art proposals. For the first year, it's proposals only — we'll exhibit those at the end of the semester. I'll teach the class my way: we'll meet off-site, make food, and do our work in non-traditional settings.

Dave Loewenstein's 411 Studio in Lawrence, Kansas.

TK: Your inclusive, community-based mural process spills over into many aspects of your life. You served on the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission, you're involved with neighborhood associations and community gardens, and in 2008, you were a founder of the Lawrence Percolator, a collaborative art space based in a storefront in a downtown alleyway.
DL: The Percolator is a dream come true. We're not a gallery — we don't want to book fancy art, cater to hipsters, and go after money. It's not just another place to hang your stuff. Generating new ideas is what we're about, not exalting personalities. The Percolator is a place where artists collaborate to expand on what they do. Percolate it! Lawrence deserves a credible alternative art space. We want to surprise people at every turn — feasts, parades, art shows … everything!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Support the Kansas Arts Commission

In his budget proposal for the state, Governor Sam Brownback has threatened to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission. If his budget is adopted, Kansas would become the only state in the United States that does not support the arts. (read the Topeka Capital-Journal article here)
This is unacceptable.
Please, if you care about the Arts, contact your state senator and the governor to express your support for the Kansas Arts Commission.