Updated: Oct 9
Internationally renowned artist, Ryan Christenson - better known as ARCY, is expected to return to Great Bend to start on a second graffiti style mural on October 12th. The Barton Arts Movement recently announced an unmistakable opportunity to align the perfect location with a relevant and important subject matter. And within a matter of weeks, members of the public stepped up to make this project possible with financial contributions and in-kind support.
Affectionately nicknamed "Starting Line", this 3,000+ square foot mural installation will be the largest project of its kind in Barton County by far. It's a salute to the popular dragstrip located west of Great Bend operated by the S.R.C.A., which hosted the very first ever NHRA national drag race in 1955. The driver shown in the mural is Calvin Rice, the actual winner of that historic race nearly 70 years ago. The dragstrip still attracts thousands of visitors to the Great Bend area each year. "The S.R.C.A. volunteers that operate the track invest countless hours and their blood, sweat, and tears to keep this historic attraction operable," says Andrea Bauer, BAM Volunteer. "We couldn't think of a more deserving subject matter for such a large scale mural. One that will be seen by up to 5,000 drivers per day traveling up and down Main Street in Great Bend."
The Barton Arts Movement was formed in early 2021 with the goal of "Creating Community Pride Through Public Art" and since then, the grassroots volunteers have gotten several projects in the works, with the goal of completing at least one more before the end of this year. As of Monday, October 4th, the mural was still under funded by approximately $20,000. After a presentation to the Great Bend City Council, the project received a boost in public awareness, spurring several private donations. In just a matter of days, the Barton Arts Movement project is now fully funded and off to the races, set to begin next week.
"There are a few reasons this mural has been so well-supported," Bauer says. "First, it's a really impressive design that will create a huge impact for people spending time in Great Bend's downtown. But it's also celebrating our community's history and acknowledging the many ways S.R.C.A. has put Great Bend on the map in such a huge way over the last 7 decades."
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has also taken notice of the project and is planning to feature Great Bend and the Barton Arts Movement mural during a national broadcast of their 1000th national race in Las Vegas this October. It is anticipated that at least 500,000 people tune in or watch online during this broadcast.
ARCY arrives in Great Bend on October 12th to get started on the massive mural installation, and is anticipated to spend 7-10 days completing the project depending on weather conditions. Building owners Joe Andrasek and Bryan Kramer have already completed the necessary prep work to have the building power washed and primed, at their own personal expense as a project partner. The public is invited to watch along during the process, and to follow Barton Arts Movement on Facebook to see progress photos. There will also be an announcement coming very soon about a special artist meet-and-greet next Friday, October 15th during the Great Bend Alive Plaza events.
Anyone interested in supporting the Barton Arts Movement to help make this project, and more like it, possible in all four of the main communities in Barton County, please consider donating to the movement! As an additional incentive, any donors who contribute to #BAM prior to October 10, 2021 will be entered to win an autographed print from ARCY and an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity, along with a Barton Arts Movement t-shirt. Learn more or donate at www.bartonartsmovement.com/donate.
Donors Making this Project Possible
Thelma Faye Harms Trust
Dennis & Diane Call Family
Francis Financial / John Francis
Alan & Gail Moeder
Roy & Marcia Westhoff
Marmie Auto Group
Jane Isern and Gail Carpenter
Amerine Construction / Amerine Family
Todd & Theresa Smith
Brian & Tanya Staats
Shawn & Desa Behr
Nels Lindberg, DVM
Lindsey & Mark Bogner
Justin & Rachel Mawhirter
G-B Tires, Inc.
Moses Properties, LLC
Craig & Jolene Biggs
Craig & Kari Smith
And many other generous donors to be announced soon!
BAM Action Team Volunteers