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KCAIC Grant Mural Project Begins

If you’ve driven through the 54/75 intersection in Yates Center over the past week, you very likely noticed some unusual activity at the Townsman Motel! Work has begun by artist Anastacia Drake on painting one of two murals in the next round of mural installations RevitalizeYC has been planning as part of a long-term plan to execute county-wide murals and public art installations.

RevitalizeYC was awarded a Mural/Public Art Grant by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Creative Arts Industries Commission. This program provides funding for communities to activate publicly accessible spaces for the purposes of artistic use and public programming. The program is designed to utilize permanent and semi-permanent art installations to increase community vibrancy and provide space for artistic expression and public engagement. Projects must activate a space through art, have a community engagement component, and be accessible to the public during a portion of the project length.

RevitalizeYC Founding Board Members Emily Beesley and Amanda Mulsow worked with Yates Center native, Anastacia Drake, to determine the scope of the project and write the grant. The grant project includes one “Welcome to Yates Center” mural at the Townsman Motel and one on the back side of Allie George’s American Family Insurance building that will be an interactive Woodson County map containing symbols of various historical landmarks all over the county.

Born & raised in Yates Center, Anastacia Drake is an internationally recognized fine art painter. She learned from an early age that art had the power to transform her environment. Her paintings derive from her experiences on the farm and her travels in nature. In her twenties, she won her first artist residency in Europe and began traveling the world exhibiting and selling her work. She had the opportunity to work with many influential artists and developed her own painting style. She has gone on to win many other artist residencies throughout the world, including Australia, Italy, Romania, and Bali. In 2019 she was named Artivist of the Year by Art Tour International Magazine. She is currently represented by 4 galleries and has a historical mural in Newton, KS. You can view her work at Anastacia has already created a public art project for the town of Yates Center with the hand-painted book return box for our community library as part of the first RevitalizeYC Annual Spring Clean Up in 2019.

“No matter where I go in the world, Yates Center will always be home. Growing up in Yates Center taught me small town values; people take care of each other. I’m grateful for the opportunity to add a little bit of inspiration and energy into the community,” said Drake.

Mulsow said of the Townsman mural, “We wanted something vibrant, cheerful, and welcoming at the 54/75 intersection. Something that would cause people to stop, take pictures, learn & share more about the community. We felt that a kitschy, vintage postcard design would match the architectural style of the Townsman and be a great way to welcome people to the area. We are very grateful to the Larson family for offering their building for us to use, as their east wall is ‘prime real estate’ & a perfect canvas for capturing the attention of travelers from any direction. I am very excited to see the finished result after many months of planning!” The design will honor Woodson County’s history of being the Prairie Hay Capital of the World and feature the beautiful sunsets we are fortunate to have in Woodson County. A QR Code will be installed next to the mural directing people to RevitalizeYC’s website to learn more about the history & future of Yates Center.

The mural committee worked with Suzanne Shaffer of the Woodson County Historical Society on the map mural slated for the American Family Insurance building. Suzanne played an integral role in sharing the history behind the many landmarks throughout Woodson County. She is writing the narratives associated with each symbol represented on the map. A sign with a QR code will direct visitors to the RevitalizeYC website to read a brief history of each landmark.

Beesley said, “Growing up in Yates Center, I never knew the history or the historical significance of certain structures. It wasn't until later in my adult life that I began to understand the historic richness of the County. Our hope is, this interactive map mural will be an introduction to the history of the area for all generations to enjoy and help residents, as well as visitors, feel a better sense of connection to this wonderful community.”

Both murals will be completed prior to Yates Center Days for all visitors to enjoy. A mural dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 27th at the American Family Insurance site. Please join us for this event, hear from the artist about these two murals, RevitalizeYC, and members of the community on how art can bring culture and vibrancy to the community.

RevitalizeYC is excited to continue working on murals throughout the county that will demonstrate civic pride, provide beautification and historical education, and promote tourism that will positively impact the businesses of Woodson County.

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