Cultural Wichita Grain Elevator Mural
Drivers making their way down I-135 in Wichita are treated to a new and lovely cultural grain elevator mural. As the last few months have gone by, the faces of the mural have become more and more apparent. Wichita will soon have a huge painted grain elevator mural.
What is possibly the largest mural to be painted by a single artist in North America is becoming a reality against all odds. The mural is on a grain elevator on a north Wichita grain elevator and a lot of locals and travelers are starting to notice. Some are even donating money to help get it completed. The artist, Armando Minjarez saw the grain elevators in north Wichita and apparently thought they looked like walls. It is reported that these walls represented a physical barrier. Barriers that divided neighborhoods and cultures, separating a community. However, Minjarez saw the grain silos as a giant canvas.
A Painted Grain Elevator to Build Bridges
The idea behind the Wichita grain elevator mural is to bring neighboring communities of different races closer together. Minjarez organization is called Horizontes, or “horizons” in Spanish. The intention is to unite people that are divided by I-135 in all aspects including mentally and emotionally.
Minjarez was awarded a grant from the Knight Cities Challenge last year. The grant provided $100,000 to compete with the painted grain elevator. The Knight Cities Challenge is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. The foundation looks for new ideas that will make 26 cities the foundation invests more vibrant. The cities and communities are based upon areas where the Knight brothers owned newspapers.
The unfortunate part is that the size of Minjarez’s idea is so large that $100,000 was not enough. Especially given the initial estimate for the cost of the painted grain elevator mural was around $156,000.
Community Comes Together
Fortunately, Fidelity Banks “Bravely Onward Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation” gave $35,000 to Horizontes. This with other donor contributions rounded out the remainder of the cost for the Wichita grain elevator mural project.
Horizontes is hoping to raise additional money to help make up for the time that was lost on the project due to rain. Minjarez hopes to raise another $15,000-20,000 for additional lifts and workers. He hopes the project can be completed by mid-November.
The Artist Behind the Wichita Grain Elevator Mural
The grain elevator mural artwork itself was designed by GLeo. GLeo is a street artist from Cali, Colombia. GLeo completed the mural in Brazil and it inspired Minjarez to reach out to GLeo to ask if she was interested in working with the Horizontes project to make the painting a reality. Horizontes team members also asked neighbors in north Wichita what they would want to see in a giant mural. The mural depicts members of African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods reaching out to one another. The figures depict people who live or have lived in the area.