The Horizontes Project
We know downtown, we know Delano and Oldtown Wichita has some pretty historic spots (The Broadview, Eaton and the Keeper of the Plains) but have you ever ventured farther North? One artist-driven organization is planning to bring this part of the city's history to light.
Horizontes, a 2017 Knight Cities Challenge Winner, is trying to connect two underrepresented neighborhoods in North Wichita; the predominately Latino Northend and historically African American Northeast neighborhoods.
In the last several years, Wichita has boomed with new businesses and beautification to attract outsiders to visit.
Horizontes is looking to bring these business and growth opportunities to these neighborhoods through a door-to-door community engagement campaign and the creation of large-scale murals on the grain elevator that separates these neighborhoods along the industrial corridor.
The purpose of this is to get people involved in seeing what the future holds for North Wichita and prompt them with the question “What does your horizon look like?”
To look to the future, we must acknowledge our past.
Through the Horizontes Project, there will be sharing of personal stories to help break down barriers created by stereotypes and misunderstandings. This approach to social change could help push for collaboration within these communities and also connect with local government.
These North Wichita neighborhoods are full of history and culture. The area near Nomar Plaza has one of the first non-segregated theaters in Wichita and is currently being used for storage. It remains a big part of the Hispanic community because of the murals recently painted there before the Northend Urban Arts Festival this past year.
I recently found out that the street in front of Dunbar Theater was once the heartbeat of the African American community. At one point in Wichita's history, it was an area where black-owned businesses were only allowed to run and served as the "main street" for that community.
The Horizontes project will be documenting the personal stories of these neighborhoods through audio recordings and photography. They will be hiring approximately eight local muralists to create additional murals in those two neighborhoods in the summer. This will help preserve and celebrate local history for generations to come.
All the work done on this project will be featured on Horizontes-Project.com along with workshops and art that will be created!