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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Artist bases painting on ‘50s ASD parade

  • The latest McPherson mural with its patriotic splashes or red, white and blue harkens back to a simpler time in the 1950s.
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  • The latest McPherson mural with its patriotic splashes or red, white and blue harkens back to a simpler time in the 1950s.
    Horses pulled floats in the All Schools Day parade, and the upper floor of the Firestone building was the Teen Town hang out.
    This new mural to honor the 100th celebration of All Schools Day, which is based on an oil painting by R. Bolton “Bob” Smith, was dedicated Saturday.
    The new mural is on the north side of the Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd building at 123 S. Main St.
    Smith has traveled internationally painting landscapes and other subjects, but he grew up in McPherson and said he remembers many All Schools Day parades.
    He remembers marching with Cub Scout Troop 133 in those early years, a memory he incorporated in his All Schools Day painting.
    He depicts a May Fete queen and king in a horse-drawn wagon and Uncle Sam walking side by side with Brownie Girl Scouts.
    He said he chose to depict the parade passing in front of the Firestone building because that is were teens gathered in his youth on the weekends for a social event known as Teen Town. As he grew up, it was that spot in front of the Firestone building where he would come to watch the parade.
    The mural was made possible by the McPherson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which is supported by guest taxes.
    This is the third mural the CVB has done since 2010. The CVB hopes the murals will attract visitors to McPherson, and its director Anne Hassler said she would eventually like to see a mural walking tour created.
    “I think this is a unique way of marketing our community,” Hassler said. “It creates public works of art that beautify the downtown area.”
    This is the third mural that was coordinated by Central Christian art teacher Naomi Ullum. Robert Cooney, Central senior, and Amanda Shaw, Central graduate, joined her in work on the mural.
    Ullum has done much decorative painting in the region, including murals at Via Christi on St. Francis and on St. Joseph in Wichita and restoration work on the mural and stencil work in the McPherson Opera House.
    It took the team of three six weeks, working 40 hours per week to complete the 16 foot by 30 foot mural.
    The team broke the painting down into a 1 by 1 inch grid, which equated to a 1 foot by 1 foot grid in the mural.
    They used chalk outlines as a base for the images and then individual artists concentrated their efforts on specific areas of the painting.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Bob is a lot of fun,” Ullum said. “He did an absolutely gorgeous painting, and to keep his style was such a nice change of pace for us and the students. It is really interesting to take something that is very specific in thought and application and do it in a large scale.”
    Mayor Tom Brown thanked Ullum and her students for their hard work on the mural and Smith, who he called McPherson’s artist in residence, for his original artwork.
    “We have tried to do some things to make McPherson a destination city,” Brown said. “These murals downtown — five or whatever number we stop at — are one more reason for people to come and see McPherson. Keep promoting the town. We like visitors.”

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