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An Artist's Perspective: Cruising Douglas, Artistically


When I lived away from Wichita and I would come home to visit, I would always take some time and drive Douglas Avenue from Oliver to the river. My beloved Douglas is the artery with the real pulse in Wichita.

Douglas has become more vibrant and Wichita proud over the last years. Hipper businesses have sprung up on or near Douglas.

The development of the Douglas Design District has given Douglas the power backing it needs to beautify and change. Wichita flags fly proud. I am beginning to notice a 'feel' like I get in Austin, or Deep Ellum in Dallas, or Berkeley.

There are now multi-colored light poles and around 30 new murals along Douglas. This is mostly due to Avenue Art Days, where art groups like ICT Army of Artists, The Brick Mob, Make ICT, Johnny Freedom, Zion Art Squad and others brought their talent to the walls and canal route support beams along Douglas.

Most murals can be found between Grove and Washington, although there are several fine examples at Douglas and Oliver by local artists Josh Tripoli and Tom Murillo. Probably the most formal example is Steve Murillo's ceramic mosaic called "Music's Magic" on the south wall of Abode at 1330 E. Douglas.

Not all of the murals appear to be painted by professional artists, and some were obviously painted by children. This is cool because the best art has always been created by children.

My favorite of the new murals was created by Delilah Reed and Maggie Gilmore. It's a giant green cicada painted on a bright orange door. The piece is entitled "Sounds of Summer" and wakes up the corner at 2300 E. Douglas.

Take a slower cruise down Douglas and see if you don't feel our proud city beginning to vibrate.

For a map of where these murals are located, go to avenueartdays.com.