Ulrich Museum planning community-based billboard art project


Courtesy of The Ulrich Museum of Art

A mock-up of a potential billboard featuring the works of Kansas-born artist Gordon Parks. The two photographs are of boxer Muhammad Ali.

Wichita State’s Ulrich Museum of Art is planning a new community-based project called Ulrich + Artists + You Community Billboard Project, which will include the artwork from 20 artists.

The project involves placing art on billboards to share with the Wichita community. 20 Billboards in total will be placed around the city by the end of the year. The locations of the billboards are still to be determined. 

“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible by selecting boards in high-trafficked areas as well as neighborhoods that may be left out of a typical billboard campaign,” Ulrich Director Leslie Brothers wrote in an email to The Sunflower. “We want people to know that they matter and that this art experience is for everyone.”

The project is expected to start on July 1 and end on December 30. Work from local artists will be included.

“Art works by several local artists are included in the Museum’s 6,500 permanent collection,” Brothers said. “We are making a point of featuring their work in the project. The project is focused uniquely on the Museum’s collection.”

Brothers said the project is an effort to stay connected with the public during this period of social distancing.

“Our need to stay connected to our diverse audiences. Like all of our cultural institutions, we have been canceling programs, exhibitions, tours, and events that bring visitors to the Museum who range in age from 5 to 90,” Brothers said. “Not only are we missing that direct contact, we are missing the outreach.”

According to the Ulrich’s April 21 newsletter, the museum is selecting works for the project that “embrace what it means to be human at a time when it matters the most.” The selected works have been chosen for their themes of heroism and leadership, politics and religion, identity and family, and the simple yet beautiful routines of everyday life. 

“As a civilization, we count on artists today as we have for centuries, to embrace with empathy and brilliance the challenges of our shared humanity,” Brothers said.