World-Record Mural Nears Completion In North Wichita

Nov 28, 2018

Wichita will soon be home to the world’s largest mural painted by a single artist.

 

The mural is on the east side of the Beachner grain elevator on 21st Street. It’s visible west of I-135 as well as westbound K-96.

 

 

Upon completion next week, the giant mural will mark the end of the Horizontes project in north Wichita. The nearly two-year long project has aimed to unite Wichita’s historically black and Latino neighborhoods.

 

“We don’t want to break the Guinness World Record because we want to have a certificate,” said Armando Minjarez, director and curator of the project. “We want to do it because we want to show that these communities are making this happen.

"It’s important to show that – not just to Wichitans and to Kansas, but to the world – that we have been doing great things, and that we will continue to do great things.”

 

Colombian street artist GLeo was commissioned by Minjarez to design and paint the larger-than-life canvas. Her work depicts people of color in various sizes and positions – nearly all appear to be looking toward the horizon. A young woman in the center represents Wichita. The mural overall is hopeful and vibrant.

 

The massive grain elevator lies in the industrial corridor that separates the city’s predominantly Latino North End from the historically black northeast. While this mural is just one part of Horizontes’ efforts to connect the two communities, it’s surely the most symbolic.

 

The mural was originally set to debut in mid-November, but Kansas weather had other plans. Rain, early snow and freezing temperatures in October kept the team from making progress.

 

“On this scale, the smallest thing becomes monumental,” Minjarez said. “We’ve had to extend the rental of machinery, we’ve had to buy more paint, we’ve had to keep hiring people to help ... those were expenses that were not initially in our budget.”

 

Horizontes is hoping to raise money to cover the unexpected costs from the weather delays. There will be a fundraising benefit for the project on Saturday at Wave. Tickets are $10. Visit the Facebook event for more information.

 

The mural will join 20 others throughout the north side as part of the Horizontes collection. To learn more about Horizontes, visit its website.

 

Ascha Lee is an assistant with KMUW's Engagement team and an intern with the News Lab. Follow her on Twitter @aschalee. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.