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Last night I had the privilege of watching Dave Loewenstein start his mural on the back side of Cottin’s Hardware with Ardys Ramberg and Missy McCoy.
The project was approved at the Lawrence City Commission meeting. Loewenstein thought it would be a good idea to start immediately after the vote. Luckily, I decided to go for a bike ride and on my way home witnessed the three of them setting up the projector and getting ready to start painting.
Loewenstein succinctly sums up this mural on his website: “It will focus on the earth, and the precarious place we have put her in.”
It was interesting to watch the process unfold. Linda Cottin was there to start things off, providing power to the long cords for the projector, a photographer to document the evening and words of encouragement.
The evening started with Loewenstein centering the image of the earth on the building. There was too much light to clearly see the image, yet that changed swiftly as dusk unfolded and the sky turned to a soft hue of burning orange, pink to deep darkness. Ramberg confidently trekked up the scaffolding to cover one of the exterior lights attached to the building, and Loewenstein gave us all a lesson on proper scaffolding use.
Loewenstein had the supplies ready for McCoy and Ardys with a few directions coupled with enthusiasm and handed them paint brushes to begin tracing the lines of the earth on the wall.
Surprisingly, Loewenstein handed me a paintbrush, and I was able to help a bit.
It was fun to visit with Ramberg and McCoy, the two artists who created the mural on the south side of the building in 2009, called “In Good Standing Amidst the Powers That Be,” and last year gave the same mural a refresh.
Many thanks to Linda and Tom Cottin for hiring Loewenstein for this job. Public murals are important. They breathe life and create meaning for communities.
We are lucky to have Loewenstein in Lawrence to help make our built environment more beautiful and remind us of our history and direction.
I encourage you to drive by to witness the progress. Stop and say hello, offer a cold drink and take a picture. The crew will likely be working on this for almost two months — the project has a completion date of Oct. 31.
It simply doesn’t get any better, does it?
It is good to live in Lawrence, Kansas.
More information from the project plans:
“On the large east facing wall, an image of the earth dips down from above with North America at the center. Under the earth, and bearing its magnitude, are native and ancient plants that transform into constellations as they move outward from the center. This image refers to the scale and fragility of our planet amidst growing challenges.
“On the adjoining south facing wall, a large hourglass marks the diminishing time for threatened species on our planet. At the top, we see animals that still have a presence but are endangered, while at the bottom are ones that have already become extinct, including some that were lost due to human interference.”
Update, 9:32 p.m. Wednesday: Cottin’s is hosting two community mural painting days. No experience is required to participate. Check out the events on The Lawrence Times community calendar on Sunday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 19.