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Funding for dragstrip mural still rolling
dragstrip mural
Shown is an artist's rendering of the proposed mural to go on the north wall of the building at 1111 Main in Great Bend. Funding for the project is moving along.

The Great Bend City Council Monday night may have voted not to offer $10,000 for a planned Sunflower Rod and Custom Association-based mural downtown, the grassroots arts group planning the project said the effort is proceeding thanks to some newly found contributors.

Things started unfolding in the council chambers after the meeting, Barton Arts Movement Action Team member Rachel Mawhirter said Tuesday morning. 

Present at the meeting was Great Bend attorney Mark Calcara, who serves on the Thelma Faye Harms Memorial Trust Board. He pulled Mawhirter and fellow BAM member Lindsey Bogner aside and said the trust may be able to help.

“They will pitch in $10,000,” Mawhirter said. Another private donor then stepped forward with another $2,000.

The $43,000 mural, to be done by Arcy (the same artist who did the B-29 Memorial painting at Forest and Williams) features the dragstrip and the first National Rod and Custom Association race there in 1955. It will cover 3,000 square feet. 

Mawhirter said that prior to last night, they had raised about $26,000. BAM had some donations fall through, but still have several possibilities for additional funding.

“We are moving ahead with it,” she said. “We are real close.”

They hope to have the artist here  next week. They have blocked out about 10 days to have it completed, but that is contingent on the weather.

BAM faced a compressed timeline because this opportunity just fell into their laps, Mawhirter said. The NHR is hosting their 1,000th race at the end of this month in Las Vegas and they want to do a full feature on Great Bend, and the mural project, during that show.  

It also worked out that Arcy was available as well.

Now, they are looking to the future.

“People can still get involved,” she said. They are still taking contributions and if this mural is over funded, the money can go towards future public arts projects in Barton County.

They are also going to put out a call for local artists who may be interested in getting involved, she said.

This marks their second mural, with the first being the B-29 Memorial. There are two other pieces in the works, one a mural in a community other than Great Bend and a countywide digital artwork.

“We want to keep the momentum going,” Mawhirter said.