Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Free Fair

"Preserving Memories of the Free Fair"

Completed in October of 2008.
Lead Artist - Dave Loewenstein
Assisted by Julie Ferreira, KT Walsh
, and community volunteers.

Dave, KT and Julie have been working since the end of July to design the latest mural panel about the Kansas "Free Fair" which took place directly across from the mural! The site was the original location of the Kansas State Fair before it's relocation to Hutchinson. Over it's long life of nearly one hundred years the fair had several incarnations from State Fair, Free Fair, Mid-America Fair, and lastly the Sunflower Expo.

At its height the fair had almost half a million visitors from all over the country. Featuring Kansas industries and trades the fair was home to amazing sights and great craftsmanship; giant butter sculptures, ceramics from Kansas clays, local food preserves, racing locomotives and horses. Art was a central feature of the fair which would display art from institutions as great and far away as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was also know as the largest "free fair" of it's kind in the country. The carnival-like atmosphere beckoned people to the "Midway", to leave their work and woes behind for a brief weekend's delight!

For more information about the Free Fair and it's various incarnations here across from the mural wall, visit the Topeka Library's Topeka History Room and read "Come to the Fair" by Maybelle M. Sheetz 1998.

In line with the free and fun energy of the Fair this latest mural panel is unique. Less of a historical narrative than a spirited evocation of the Fair's memory. This panel beckons the passerby to suspend belief and with it's bold colors and and surreal content. Larger than life jars "preserve" central and playful fair features like carousel figures, farm animals, and games.

This mural is also different in style. The color study was created using a "cut paper" method. This method is ideal for working with groups; more hands can create a unified looking style, and anyone - even those who fear drawing - can participate. Instead of painting or coloring in an outline drawing; the outline is filled in with cut pieces of colorful paper. It gives a more edgy and layered quality to the work; you may notice sharper edges, and colors that look placed on top of one another.