For more than twenty years, my community-based public projects have focused on collaborative storytelling, civic participation and the celebration of neighborhood vitality. From my home in Kansas to rural Mississippi, New York City, Northern Ireland, South Korea and Brazil among many others, my work has centered on an art practice that reaches people outside of established institutions reflecting their histories, concerns, and visions for the future. Understanding that the technology of murals can help build bridges across difference as they offer a form of public performance where strangers can meet, is central to my belief that these projects can encourage renewed participation in civic life.
My projects intentionally bring people together who have different abilities, backgrounds and stories to tell, creating an environment where developing relationships lead to the emergence of exciting new ideas and visual forms. The challenge of facilitating such diverse groups is also one of the key ingredients in making murals that honestly reflect the dynamics of contemporary life.
Dave Loewenstein is a muralist, writer, and printmaker based in Lawrence, Kansas. Examples of his community-based murals can be found across the United States and in Northern Ireland, South Korea and Brazil. Loewenstein’s prints are exhibited nationally and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Yale University, and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of “Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide,” a 2007 Kansas Notable Book Award Winner, and is the co-director of the documentary film “Creating Counterparts” which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Kansas Filmmakers Jubilee. Loewenstein has been recognized widely for his work, including the 2001 Lighton Prize for Arts Educator of the Year from Kansas City Young Audiences, the 2004 Tom and Anne Moore Peace and Justice Award given by the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, a 2006 Phoenix Award from the Lawrence Arts Commission, a 2007 Kansas Press Association 1st Place Columnist Award for his column “Blank Canvas.” In 2014 he was named one of the founding Cultural Agents for the new U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, and in 2016, the documentary “Called to Walls” premiered which focuses on his six-state mural project for the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Program I – Community Mural Project for School, Organization or Town.
Participants will research, design and paint a public mural for their school and/or community. Led by Loewenstein’s inclusive and thoughtful process, mural participants will explore their culture and community, reflecting on pride, aspirations and challenges. Imagery derived form these explorations will form the basis of the mural design which will be collectively painted. Projects can be for interior or exterior spaces and will take between 3 – 21 days to complete.
Program II – Community Mural Organizing Workshop.
This is a two-day workshop for teachers, arts administrators, non-profit leaders and others who are interested in organizing a mural project. Participants will learn about the process and technical requirements for building successful projects. They will also learn about contracts, city and building permissions, insurance and other administrative issues they will need to prepare for. And to cap off the workshop, Loewenstein will lead a brainstorming session to begin the process of imagining a new mural.
Program I – Community members who are not on the mural design team will have the opportunity to paint on the mural, attend a screening of the documentary “Called to Walls,” and attend the mural celebration / dedication. And all residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the finished mural for many years after its completion.
Program II – Community members will be invited to attend a free screening of the documentary “Called to Walls.”
Program I – Students who are not on the mural design team will have the opportunity to paint on the mural, attend a free screening of the documentary “Called to Walls,” and attend the celebration/dedication of the mural. While in residence, Loewenstein will also visit with students upon a teacher’s request. In addition, current and future students, faculty and staff will get to enjoy the mural for many years after its completion.
Program II – While in residence, Loewenstein will visit with students upon a teacher’s request. (as time permits)