Mural Movement Grows in Clay Center

This article was published on: 09/30/2022

What began as a local Rotary project to install one mural in 2020 quickly became an entire movement in one North Central Kansas community.

A Mural Movement of Clay Center just saw the completion of its 25th mural in July 2022. Clay Center resident and Community Bank President Brett Hubka was president of the Rotary Club when the project began.

A Mural Movement of Clay Center committee members are shown with the latest mural. Pictured left to right are Dave Borgerding, Brett Hubka, Tracy Lebo, Artists Christian & Jessica Stanley, Michelle Gillard, Maria Pfizenmaier, Shannon Stark, and Jacob Lohrmeyer. (Courtesy Photo)

“Each Rotary Club president gets to do a project during their presidential year. It could be as simple as picking up trash to as complex as an entire playground. A mural was actually not my first idea,” Hubka said. “K-State Architecture, Planning and Design students had come at some point to do some plans for the downtown and a mural was included in those plans. For whatever reason it never got done. I presented the idea to the club for a mural and just for fun in my PowerPoint included other buildings/locations where murals could go.”

When the idea took off, Brett reached out to six others in the community with an interest in growing the movement. That seven-person mural committee continues today.

Murals primarily are located in Clay Center, but murals have also been installed in nearby Longford and Green and plans are underway for a mural in Morganville.

While the movement has received some grant funding through the District Rotary and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Hubka estimates 90 percent of the funding has come from local individuals, businesses and alumni. To date they have received about $250,000 and donations from 23 different states.

“We’ve definitely reached a different phase in the project,” Hubka said. “We are shifting to a greater focus on promotion instead of installing more murals.”

Hubka offers advice for communities considering a major project of their own. “For any community project, teaming up with a civic organization is important,” Hubka said. “For us two other big keys to success were a great committee and a generous community. We could not do this without either one.”

To view an interactive map of all the murals or to learn more, visit a Mural Movement Experience.

Congratulations to the following organizations located in North Central Kansas that were recently awarded funding through the Office of Rural Prosperity’s Rural Mural and Public Art grant program:

  • Clay Center Community Improvement Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Dickinson County, Inc.
  • Ellsworth County Economic Development Corporation
  • Mitchell County Strong, Inc.
  • Wilson Tourism Hub, Inc.

This article appeared in the Quarter 3 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.