Late afternoon, Tuesday, June 20th Baldwin City formally celebrated the completion of its first community mural, located at 608 High Street, and recognized community members engaged with the project. The Baldwin City Community Mural Project was a 18 month private-public partnership between the Baldwin City Tourism Bureau, Lumberyard Arts Center, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Baldwin City. Additional stakeholders included USD 348 and Baker University. The project was funded by a Douglas County Community Foundation “Community Grant,” City of Baldwin City Facade and Mural Grant, Baldwin City Tourism Bureau funding and community donations.
The project hired experienced community muralist, Dave Loewenstein, to lead the implementation phase with assistant artist, Nicholas Ward, and three local artist apprentices—Meagan Young, Ella Conover, and Alaina Shifflebein. The development of the mural theme was derived through intergenerational visioning sessions and four Mural Design Team meeting, consisting of 17 citizens. Following, the community was invited to paint. The project contributes to building community pride and economic development through cultural heritage tourism. This project is part of a larger vision to create a Baldwin City mural program that tied with other Baldwin City cultural and historic assets, builds a robust cultural tourism program.
Community Mural Artist Apprentices
This is the first community mural in Baldwin City. Through a community visioning workshop and series of design meetings, members of the community gathered stories of our city’s past to create something new, fresh, and present-tense. Our community chose to represent the future through the ‘windows’ of Maple seeds, which is an important piece of our past.
Through these windows, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of our past, our present, and our hopes for the future. To explain a few of the seeds, we took children’s drawings and they created a bright and beautiful scene, filled with flowers, playgrounds, and the sun. They were important to add because they are our hopes for the future.
Among other seeds, there are stories of Baldwin, one being the story of Signal Oak. A tree overlooking the city of Lawrence, a tree used in the Underground Railroad, letting slaves know that when the lantern is lit and hung, it is safe to continue their path. This lantern was a significant symbol of hope and one to remember.
We also have the Women’s Bridge, created by an all-women council in 1890. The Women’s Bridge signifies the perseverance and strength these women had to create a better community for Baldwin City. It’s important to note the time period where women had essentially no day in the life of politics. These women were determined, dedicated, and diligent. Another seed includes a train being pushed by artists/members of the community. The train is an important staple of Baldwin City. With the support of our community, our ability to continue “chugging along” is a colorful and exciting journey.
At the center of the mural is a pair of Maple seed wings. This is an interactive part of the mural where the viewer can stand and appear to have wings. Above the wings stands the fountain, and from the fountain there are many seed-like insects also taking flight. Fountains are places where people make wishes, and we all have different wishes for Baldwin City. A mural is a place where we can come together and hear each other’s ideas, and maybe look at things differently than we did before.