Mural brings beauty to Baldwin City


Elizabeth Hanson

The finished bird mural in downtown Baldwin City is on the adjacent wall to the fire station.

Story by Brenna Thompson, News Editor

Celebrations were in order this summer with the completion of the Baldwin City mural. The residents of Baldwin City expressed excitement over the bright painting.

City Community Development Director Ed Courton said the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce brought forth the idea of a community mural in the spring of 2017. The city provided a grant for the mural, donating $4,000-$5,000 toward the cause.

The city supported the idea of the community coming together in a collaborative effort to create something their family and friends, whether passing through or residing in Baldwin City, could appreciate.

The Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeanette Blackmar said the endeavor was a collaborative effort between the city, the Lumberyard Arts Center and the Chamber of Commerce.

The tourism bureau initiated research with a consultant to develop a plan to enhance the cultural and historical heritage of Baldwin City.

Lucreatia Carlson, chair of the tourism bureau, said another point of the artistic piece was to bring the community together to participate in the making of the mural.

The mural was done in two phases. The planning period lasted from January 2016 until April 2017, and included the hiring of an artist and his team along with finding the space and resources needed to complete the mural.

The second phase began in April 2017 and ended with the completion and unveiling of the piece in June 2017.

The Chamber of Commerce hired artist David Lowenstein, who specializes in community murals. The city then held several meetings to discuss and create designs.

Carlson said the meetings were well-attended and any resident could be on the design team.

Another way the city brought the community together was by hiring a Baker student artist and a Baldwin High student artist as interns so they could learn the process and recreate it in the future.

Lowenstein and this team came up with the drawings based on feedback from the community, and everyone was invited to paint parts of it.

“I think that’s why people like it so much here; they made it themselves,” Carlson said. “A lot of people have been taking photos with it. The oak leafs look like angel wings.”

Courton said the public feedback is extremely positive.

With approval from the city, planning will begin to design numerous murals downtown.

“We were very happy to collaborate and hope to begin work on several murals to create interest,” Courton said.

Baldwin city officials and directors such as Courton have wanted to generate an even more artistically-pleasing downtown with improvements to the street façade.

They have done so by increasing the lighting and landscaping. The addition of the mural served as one of the many enhanced features downtown.

Courton hopes this is the start of many murals to come.

In fact, the continuation of the mural team is already underway, with beginning plans for a 2018 mural.

Apologies to Lucreatia Carlson and Ed Courton for a mixed up quote in the print edition.