Colorful creation: Volunteers work on Newton mural

Jennifer Weigel paints on the Newton mural on June 10 at the Newton outlet mall. The mural is created through the Newton Murals and Arts Project.

By Wendy Nugent

NEWTON—The old Vitamin World store at the outlet mall provides a nourishing backdrop for artwork creation, as various volunteers are working on the newest Newton mural.

The entire mural is spread out on the floor, most of which is painted in bright yellows, golds, black, royal blue, purple, light and dark greens, tan and brown. The design includes the Newton flag symbol, a meadowlark, additional rail tracks, the Old Mill, train station, the words “Newton, Kansas, Established 1871,” a Harvey girl, Santa Fe symbol, and other Newton and Kansas-inspired symbols and words.

The mural is 20 x 32 feet, said mural coordinator Raymond Olais, adding there’s 20-4 x 8 feet sign panels.

“Initially, we set them up on the wall and we set it up to project,” Olais said, adding they used a computer to project the design on the wall.

They then did an outline of the mural design.

“From that, we started painting them in sections,” Olais said, adding at some points, they had panels on the wall and floor.

“I said we needed to have them on the floor because eventually (we) need to have them connected,” Olais said.

Volunteers have gone to the outlet mall to paint.

“We’ve got it laid out and have got it pretty much painted,” he said. “Sometimes, the paint covers good and sometimes not.”

Olais said most of the mural has been painted twice since it’s smooth.

“It adheres, but it doesn’t want to cover adequately,” he said.

For the project, the volunteers are using Nova mural paints, which also were used on the sunflower mural off East Sixth Street in Newton.

Olais, a retired Newton High School art teacher and artist himself, said all outdoor murals deteriorate, definitely more than the ones indoors.

“They hold up a lot better,” Olais said.

Andrea Braker designed the mural with input from others.

“It’s a collaborative design by two or three people,” Olais said, added Braker led the design.

It’s not for certain where the mural will be at this point.

“The location for this mural is at the edge of Railroad Park and the Old Mill Parking lot, and that is tentative until we complete the sign variance process with the city,” said Constance Gehring with the Newton Murals and Arts Project. “Looks like that will occur in July with installation of the mural following later in the summer.”

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