In the Wind Mural Art Project Completed

The “In the Wind” Mural has been completed by Hays, KS artist, Matthew J Miller. Project design began in June and the work began in July after volunteers spent a day power washing and preparing the area for the project. Mr. Miller brought a “tiny house” on a trailer to the community center to live in most of each week during the project, and the house was connected to the building’s’ utility services. The painting project took around three months to complete through the extreme heat of the summer into the cooler fall days. During the project, Mr. Miller gave tours, participated in several of the weekly Farmers markets, sold eggs and produce from his garden, and played Saturday bingo. The project also included the installation of automatic solar lights to illuminate the mural at night and 24/7 outdoor security cameras.

Volunteers who donated their time, equipment and / or professional services included Marlin Huehl, Corey Harlow, Jamie Meyer, Sarah Smith, Kelly Gourley, Linda & John Wrench, David & Mona Gerstmann, and Danny Huehl. In addition to their time, Marlin Huehl donated the use of his boom lift for the power washing day, and Danny Huehl donated the use of his tractor trailer and trailer to transport the scissor lift which was rented for the duration of the project.

Because Wilson and Lucas draw a number of tourists and visitors for their art exhibits throughout the year, one goal of the mural project in Vesper was to provide an anchor in the center of Lincoln County which would draw Wilson and Lucas and I-70 visitors into the county down the scenic byway in and out thru Sylvan Grove, Lincoln and other directions. A traditional landscape art design was chosen to provide something unique and reflective of what makes Lincoln County special.

The mural’s main theme chosen was wind power which has been used from the founding days of the county thru the present. Objects in the mural which include limestone, hay bales, cattle, the old Vesper school, the state bird, Kansas flag, and Vesper mascot and baseball and bucolic landscape were included from input from the community who filled out surveys in the spring of 2023.

The Vesper school district was consolidated & closed on June 30th, 1966. The gymnasium and school property eventually became the Vesper Community Center. The Vesper school was well known for baseball and the cardinal was its mascot. The limestone school and much of the City of Vesper is gone,
in the wind, but community and life endures. The Kansas Flag was designed by Lincoln seamstress, Hazel Avery, in 1925.

“In the Wind” was supported in part by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional financial support has been provided by the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC) Office of Rural Prosperity, the LCEDF with support from KDOC TEFI/SEED, and the Dane G Hansen Foundation.