Updated: Aug 26
Graffiti artist Ryan Christenson, known as ARCY, wrapped up the downtown Great Bend mural Tuesday, July 13.
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Connecticut graffiti artist Ryan Christenson, known as ARCY, travels eight months of the year creating public art. Through many partnerships and private donors, the Barton Arts Movement organization brought ARCY to Great Bend to spray paint a large mural on the east wall of the building at the Forest and Williams intersection.
ARCY arrived to town last week and spends an average of 12 hours on the mural each day. "The great thing about working with different communities is that they all have a different story," said ARCY. "It's great for me because if I'm not familiar, that's research for me. There has been people around here that have been coming to share their stories as well." ARCY started experimenting with spray paint as a medium for artwork in his teenager days and has seen his name gain popularity over the years working with “Main Street” and rural communities.
ARCY was asked to transform the downtown building wall into a piece that represents the region’s history. The mural is a tribute to the men and women who served at Great Bend’s airfield during World War II. "I loved the nostalgic factor that this image was on the original poster that was done in the 1940s," said ARCY. "I was able to merge it with my style and give it a more contemporary look."
The Disney Fine Artist, creating officially licensed artwork on classic Disney films and characters, says he loves working in smaller communities such as Great Bend. ARCY stated there has been so much gratitude and appreciation from the Great Bend community.
Making roughly 30 stops across the country per year to work, ARCY started painting “hidden” Mickey Mouse heads into his work as a way to stay in contact with his two children back home. He would send pictures of his work back home for his children to locate the Mickey Mouse logo. The discrete Mickey Mouse head is incorporated into the B-29 mural in Great Bend as well.
The Barton Arts Movement (BAM) was created to display and inspire more public art throughout Barton County. Learn more at www.bartonartsmovement.com or search the hashtag #bartonartsmovement on social media.