Murals celebrate past, present and future of Dodge City

Three murals to highlight Dodge City’s western and cultural heritage were unveiled May 8 in the downtown area.

Fiesta in Motion—A Celebration of Latin American Culture is featured on the north side at the West Coast Plaza at 609 N. Second Ave.; Homage to Dodge—A Tribute to the Wild West is featured on the north side at Eryn’s Downtown Center, 509 N Second Ave., and Queen of the Cowtown is on the west side of Birds of a Feather, 314 W. Spruce St. Festivities included a ribbon cutting in which artist Efe Tekdemir, of Gardner Design, Wichita, was all smiles in seeing how they were received.

Tekdemir, age 21, a native of Türkiye, spent three months in Dodge City, researching the community and its cultural influences, quipping that included watching Gunsmoke reruns.

“I like the beautiful multi-culture Dodge City has and I wanted to reflect it in the artwork,” he said.

Tekdemir said he did not have a personal favorite because he wanted each to stand on its own. “They all say something different about Dodge City.”

Mayor Michael Burns said in speaking on behalf of his fellow Dodge City commissioners that the murals are a great addition to the historic downtown district, which is undergoing a major facelift.

“These murals bring additional color, energy, and life to our already wonderful downtown. And as we look around us, we see that construction is underway for a massive renovation for the Streetscape project. Not only is this a tremendous investment in the district’s infrastructure, but it is also a reminder of the potential we see in our city,” Burns said. “Our city has a rich history and iconic status amongst the American West, but it is not just our past that makes us great. Our present and future are also bright, as our ever-blended community continues to embrace immigrants from around the globe, welcoming them to our community and helping them reach for the American dream.”

Burns noted the work of Tekdemir of Gardner Design, the AARP for providing funding through its Community Challenge grant, Gerald Schmidt, an AARP volunteer who raised awareness about the grant, also, the State Historic Preservation Office and the local Historic Landmark Commission, Main Street Dodge City, the Public Art Advisory Committee, city of Dodge City staff, the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau and especially, Justin Wilson, CVB marketing coordinator for administering the grant and finally the Dodge City Commission for having the foresight to establish an art in public places program. Three ribbon cuttings by the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce signified the unveiling.

“We must not forget to thank the generous property owners who made this all possible,” Burns said. They include Michael and Liliana Zuniga, Dr. Kirk Gross, and David Field. We owe you all a debt of gratitude for your vision and generosity. Without your support and willingness to let us display these amazing works of art on your properties, we would not be standing here today. Thank you for seeing the value of this project and for helping to make our community a more beautiful and inclusive place for all to enjoy.”

Melissa McCoy, assistant city manager, said a project of such scope would not have been possible without the support of public and private sectors and the vision of the AARP through its challenge grant. Mary Tritsch, director of communications with AARP Kansas, thanked Gerald and Dianna Schmidt, both Dodge City residents, for their insight and promotion of the project. Gerald Schmidt is a former Dodge City mayor and both are active with AARP.

AARP through its Challenge Grant program nationwide has awarded over $12 million and funded 1,060 projects since 2017, Tritsch said.

Fiesta in Motion

Celebrates Latin American culture and is a tribute to the rich heritage it brings to the community. This mural is a visual representation of the diversity and cultural richness of Dodge City, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and traditions.

Homage to Dodge

A Tribute to the Wild West is near Gunsmoke Street. This mural transports people back in time to when Dodge was still a frontier town, evoking a sense of adventure and excitement. The details in the main actors of the television series “Gunsmoke”brings the scene to life, immersing the viewer in the story it tells. It is a nod to the classic Western genre, including the beloved show that has contributed to the city’s cultural legacy.

Queen of Cowtowns

Near Spruce and Third Avenue this mural pays tribute to the rich history of cattle drives in Dodge City and celebrates the city’s connection to the Wild West. Its vibrant colors and modern typography make it a beautiful and eye-catching addition to our community.

“These murals are not just graphics on a wall, but they are a reflection of our community’s identity, values, and aspirations,” Burns said. “They represent the past, present, and future of our city, and they are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and creativity of everyone involved in this project.”

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Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].