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Restoration Continues In Wichita's Historic Dunbar District

Carla Eckels
Artist Juanta Wolfe says he told Horizontes Project organizers "I'll give it all I've got" in spray painting the mural.

Another colorful mural is now on display in Wichita's historic Dunbar District. It's part of the Horizontes, or Horizons, project that's helping to revive the once-thriving neighborhood.

Spray paint artist Juanta Wolfe jumped at the chance to create a mural on a former motorcycle club building at 9th & Cleveland in Wichita. The area was the pulse of the African-American community in the 50s and 60s.

Wolfe says his art shows the four elements — earth, water, air and fire — plus an image of Mother Nature and a man, both sporting huge funky afros.

Credit Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Artist Priscilla Brown says all three entertainers in her mural — Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor and Wichita native Hattie McDaniel — were seen in movies at the Dunbar Theatre prior to its closing in the 1960s.

"I just let it kind of flow out," Wolfe said. "I wanted to represent some kind of pride in heritage and stuff so that’s kind of why I got these afro-esque figures but overall, as I started going, I’m just having fun."

Artist Priscilla Brown painted a mural with images of entertainers, Moms Mabley, Richard Proyor and Hattie McDaniel on the back of the historic Dunbar Theatre.  

A new mural on the building's south side will be created in October. The Dunbar Theatre's renovation efforts are set to be completed by 2020.

Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.