WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — From unique interpretations of Wichita’s iconic symbol to the prominently displayed “Wichitkitty,” if you look closely, you can find 108 colorful murals throughout a three-mile stretch of Douglas Ave. from Washington to Oliver.
“I did my first mural with Avenue Art Days in 2017, actually just a block down the road,” artist Heather Byers said.
Byers designed this year’s Avenue Art Days installation. With the help of 20 other artists, she is creating a tribute to the state motto of Kansas.
“The fact that this has previous artists from previous years just makes it that much more fun,” Byers said.
Avenue Art Days has been a popular Douglas Design District project for the past eight years — its rapid growth surprising artists and organizers alike.
“Seeing how much attention, attraction and the level of commissioned artists that are being hired now for murals has told us that we have not only met that goal, but we’ve exceeded that,” Avenue Art Days founder Janelle King said.
Ironically, the event’s success is the reason why Avenue Art Days artists are packing up their paintbrushes and saying goodbye.
“We have numerous artists that are now full-time muralists who did their very first one because we gave them a chance,” King said.
But for these local artists, the end of Avenue Art Days is not a sad goodbye, but a bittersweet one. Like the theme of this year’s mural, many of these artists say they’re looking ahead to the future.
“I think their decision to kind of wrap it up and hand it over to business owners to decide and to hire artists — I think that’s a good move,” Byers said.
King says while she can’t comment on any future plans for the Douglas Design District, she says she expects the Avenue Art Days project to evolve through privately commissioned work.