For the past few months, I have been involved with a project to help beautify my neighborhood and my city and, in the process, creating a tourist attraction for my city and state. Yesterday, other community leaders and I kicked it into high gear and took our plans to the public.
An article in the Topeka Capital Journal tells the story,
The city of Topeka and the Chesney Park Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA) kicked off fundraising efforts Thursday to paint a series of murals reflecting Topeka’s heritage along a plain, white wall about 800 feet long and 11 feet tall near the Kansas Expocentre.
“When finished, this Great Mural Wall will be the pride of the Chesney Park neighborhood and the city of Topeka,” said Tom Benaka, president of the Chesney Park NIA. “It will be a tourist destination and seen by thousands who visit the Expocentre.”
Benaka was among about 20 people who appeared at a news conference to kick off a campaign to raise $30,000 to finance this year’s first phase of the project, which Topeka public works spokesman David Bevens said is targeted at “transforming the white-washed carcass of a now-defunct 10-million-gallon water reservoir into a colorful piece of public art.”
World-renowned muralist and Lawrence, KS, resident David Loewenstein is to supervise the project’s design and creation by a team of young artists that hasn’t yet been formed.
The $30,000 being sought for the fundraising campaign that kicked off Thursday should cover the costs of administration, materials, and stipends for artists to help create the first 60-foot long section of the mural, with completion targeted by November. Additional murals, which would complement each other, are to be added to the wall during the next two or three years.
City Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz, whose district includes the site of the mural wall, announced at Thursday’s news conference that she was donating $50 to the effort. She challenged all other council members to give at least that amount, and all city employees to donate $1.
“You may laugh about that, but we have 1,300 employees,” Ortiz said.
Like Sylvia, who was one of the candidates that ran against me for the city council position, I would like to challenge every reader of this article to send at least $1 to the project.
The author of this article, Kevin Surbaugh, is Vice President of the Chesney Park NIA.
Checks should be made payable to “Chesney Park/TCF,” Topeka Community Foundation, 5431 S.W. 29th, Topeka, 66614. Donations are tax-deductible and donors will receive a receipt.