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Art Review

Why This Year's Riverfest Is A Must-See Art Event

wayne_white.jpg
Harvester Arts
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I have lived in Wichita for nearly five years and never been to Riverfest. I’ve never really wanted to go - until this year. And there is a major reason why.

Wichita Festivals partnered with Harvester Arts to create the first-ever artist residency for the Safelite AutoGlass Sundown Parade. Now, for full disclosure, I work for the WSU School of Art, Design and Creative Industries who is a sponsor of this residency. So you can take my commentary with a grain of salt, but I promise you this: this year, the parade is a must-see art event.

They invited artist Wayne White to town and he’s here with his wife, the award winning graphic novelist Mimi Pond

If Wayne White is not a familiar name to you, I can guarantee that his work is. He was the puppet master and key set designer for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. He has three Emmys for his work on this show. Wayne also won an MTV Music Video award for his art direction on the Georges Méliès-inspired video for Smashing Pumpkin’s Tonight, Tonight. 

Wayne has gone on to have major success in the fine art world with his word paintings. He rescues landscape paintings from thrift stores and revives them by painting bold, humorous words and phrases into the existing scenery.

But, now he has returned to the world of puppet making. Wayne is working with members of our community to make giant puppets of John Brown, Carrie Nation, Rosie the Riveter and the world’s longest Conestoga wagon that will function like a Chinese dragon puppet.

His puppets will honor Kansas’s history for a Riverfest that will be unlike any other.

The Safelite Sundown Parade is Friday, May 30th, at 6:30 pm, in downtown Wichita.