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ORP Mural Q + A

Staff members from the Office of Rural Prosperity visited Osawatomie in April 2022.

We hear there are some questions about the new mural going in… Let’s do a quick Q+A!


Q: Where did the money come from for this mural?

A: The City of Osawatomie applied for a grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity and the “Rural Mural” program — a pilot program from ORP designed to bring public art into rural communities. The City received $15,000 for the project and issued a call for applications; the award included all expenses for labor, equipment, supplies, etc.

Q: Did the City Council vote on the mural?

A: No, the City Council did not vote on the mural for the downtown. The City Council was made aware of the City’s application to the program and the subsequent award as part of continuing “Osawatomie 4.0” presentations at regular meetings throughout the year.

Q: Who is the mural committee?

A: The mural committee for this initial Office of Rural Prosperity Rural Mural grant was comprised of Chamber of Commerce Director Kari Bradley, Osawatomie High School art teacher Michaela Irwin, local business owner Jordy Goff of Our Clique Photography, Osawatomie Public Library Director Dr. Morgan Menefee, City Hall’s high school intern, and Assistant to the City Manager Sam Moon. An official Arts Commission will hopefully be established soon to assist with future public art projects.

Q: How many submissions did the committee receive?

A: The committee received 18 formal submissions of portfolios and approximately another 3-5 email or social media inquiries that didn’t complete the portfolio requirement. In total, there were over 200 pages of portfolio work submitted for review from a wide variety of artists including local and international talents.

Q: How did the committee pick this design?

A: The committee reviewed all submissions and selected four artists or teams believed to have had the best proven body of work to move into a finalist round. During the finalist round, the artists were asked to submit design ideas or framework (such as a rough pencil sketch, a few paragraphs about their design methodology or process, a digital rendering, a mood board, or any combination thereof etc.) so that the committee could better understand what their unique voice and vision could bring to the community. The committee then met again to review the finalist submissions and the green and yellow draft design by Hunter Sinclair Myers of Wichita’s Brickmob stood out from the pack. The unique graphic, pop-art style felt fresh, contemporary, and vibrant — the perfect complement to a reawakening downtown corridor!

Check out Brickmob’s portfolio here! They have a team of artists and designers who tag-team on murals of all sizes and styles, and a proven track record of great projects and professional experience.

Q: Why didn’t the award go to the school district for a student-led mural?

A: This mural is large-scale (nearly 40 feet high and 40 feet long) and needed a professional muralist with a proven body of work in exterior murals to lead the team, including examining the condition of the wall and recommending prep work (like tuckpointing or sealcoating) and coordinating equipment needs such as scissor lifts, commercial projectors, and access to the correct type of outdoor mural paint to ensure a long-lasting and vibrant final product. The OHS art teacher was a member of the selection committee and agreed that she and her students weren’t adequately equipped for such a task, especially in the middle of an already busy school year.

Student- and/or community-led murals are on deck for the next set of projects now that we better understand all that goes into starting and finishing a quality mural and have more time to prepare!

Q: Are you doing more murals?

A: Yes! The City of Osawatomie applied for and received a grant from the local Hawkins Foundation to install other smaller murals in the community. We’re looking forward to working with residents, students, and other members of the community on our future mural projects.

Q: How can I help with future projects?

A: Applications for the upcoming Arts Commission will be accepted from anyone in the community with a penchant for art, a desire to help create reimagined and interactive displays, or anyone who has a passion for our community culture. Keep an eye out for the application to open in coming weeks! We’d love the assistance of creative, engaged, and dedicated people for our next projects!

For more questions regarding this and upcoming public art projects, please contact the City of Osawatomie’s Public Information Officer.