By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
The creation of the Barton Arts Movement (BAM) was announced in late April as a way to display and inspire more public art throughout Barton County. This week, BAM is introducing their first project.
The building at the Forest and Williams intersection in Great Bend will receive a large B-29 pilot mural on its east wall.
Ryan Christenson, known as ARCY, is a street artist that has
traveled the world creating public art. Great Bend Economic Development
Director Sara Hayden said ARCY has
a break in his schedule as he is traveling to Wisconsin for his next project
and agreed to stop in Great Bend to paint the mural.
"His (ARCY) theme this year is hometown heroes," said Hayden. "We knew with a short timeframe we didn't have time to identify a specific person, but we thought about a generic person that impacted the direction of Great Bend. It came down to a B-29 pilot. When the airbase came to Great Bend, there was a huge surge in our economy and the town was built by that history."
The old opera house used to be on the lot at Forest and Williams, but was torn down in 2014 after being condemned. The opera house and the building to the west, shared a party wall. Andy Mingenback, with Brentwood Builders, owns the two lots. A crew from Brentwood prepped the stucco wall this week as ARCY is expected to start the mural Wednesday. The artist anticipates completing the project within a week.
"This is definitely a partnership project," said Hayden. "BAM got things moving and the Great Bend Conventions and Visitors Bureau saw the vision in this. The CVB and private donors have helped put forward the funds to make this happen."
The majority of Barton County’s community murals are nearly 20 years old. BAM hopes to add more murals in high-traffic areas in Great Bend, Ellinwood, Hoisington and Claflin.
Below are few other projects from ARCY. View more at his Facebook page by clicking HERE.