Horizontes Project • Wichita, KS
When we first told folks we were heading to Kansas, a lot of them asked... "Why?" And we'd laugh and respond... "Why not!?" Of course, we had a very good reason for visiting this historic city (which lies directly in the middle of our country) --- we were thrilled to participate in the Horizontes Project and obviously, paint some really, really large walls... very, very quickly.
Thank you to the City of Wichita, the amazing Horizontes team, the crew at the Evergreen Park, and the Design Council who anonymously requested a design inspired by the Aztec God of Rain - Tlaloc - which was in turn painted by our fearless leaders, Felipe Ortiz and Ivan Salazar.
- About the Horizontes Project -
Horizontes is a community engagement art project that aims to use large-scale murals to "connect two underrepresented neighborhoods in north Wichita, the predominantly Latino NorthEnd and historically African American Northeast neighborhoods, which are both physically and psychologically separated by large grain elevators along the industrial corridor."
The Wichita Eagle reported that "this project, which was one of 33 Knight Cities Challenge grants awarded in 2017, involves more than just mural-painting. Horizontes, which means 'horizons' in Spanish, is an effort to unite people from two historic Wichita neighborhoods who are “physically, emotionally and mentally” divided by I-135."
According to the Horizontes team, "Wichita is seen as a diverse city bubbling with opportunity and fresh community development initiatives. This renewed economic activity raises the question of who has access to these renewed opportunities and resources. The North and Northeast neighborhoods are living examples of a historic and systemic lack of access to opportunity and resources that could result in lasting community development. Through a door-to-door community engagement campaign and the creation of large-scale murals, we hope to catalyze a participatory vision for the future of north Wichita."
In another expo that details the impact of this art project, Kansas.com shared studies that have shown that "public art programs like Horizontes can both improve neighborhood pride and engagement, as well as promote learning and teaching about diverse cultures (multiculturalism).”
Not to mention... GLeo is painting the largest mural in North America for Horizontes! Whaaat!?
Enormous (literally) congratulations to our favorite GLeo --- for her grand undertaking transforming the face of a grain elevator in Wichita with her famous styles. This project is being billed as "the largest mural to be painted by a single artist in North America" --- as reported by the Wichita Eagle this week. "Members of the Horizontes teams canvassed the neighborhoods in north Wichita before the actual artwork began, asking people what they wanted to see in a giant mural. The mural will depict members of the Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods reaching out to each other. All of the figures depicted in the mural are based on photographs of people who currently live or have lived in the neighborhoods in the past." This certainly sounds like an impactful initiative and we look forward to following her progress!