Leadership Sedalia class organizes Prairie Queen Mural Society

By Faith Bemiss - [email protected]

By Faith Bemiss

[email protected]


Many ideas have merged in the formation of a nonprofit mural society with planning underway through the 2015-16 Class of Leadership Sedalia. The new entity will be called the Prairie Queen Mural Society.

Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angie Thomas, co-coordinator of Leadership Sedalia said several years ago John Meehan brought up the idea and last, year local artist Douglas Freed presented it again.

Freed, who is a member of the Mid-American Arts Alliance, said on Friday at his studio that he had a “three pronged” idea. He would like to see new historical murals in downtown Sedalia but would also like to see restoration of antique painted ads on the buildings along with a “Sites of Memory” mural.

“This is not my original idea,” he added. “I’m thinking about what the Mid-American Arts Alliance has done with Dave Loewenstein. He goes into a community and he gets a number of people, 20 or 30 people, that have an interest in the project. Then those people get together and start brainstorming.”

He said the group of people could include children and adults. They would select their favorite memory of Sedalia and a local artist would paint the memories.

Both Freed and Thomas agree that local artists should be selected to create the art for the mural project.

“That’s mandatory,” Thomas said. “We already have a list that the (Sedalia) Visual Arts group and Doug (Freed) gave us, that are local.”

Thomas and Freed mentioned several local artists names that might be considered for the project: Gary Huddleston, Linda Hoover, Stefanie Aziere-Sattler, Mike Colvin and Melinda Moore.

Thomas said the Leadership Sedalia class composed of 24 students and professionals in the city have been divided into two committees. One to oversee the first mural’s location, the choice of artist, the theme, legal issues and materials needed for the project. The second committee will take care of forming the mural society.

“They will be going through the process of developing a 501 C-3 and the by-laws,” Thomas said. “They going as far as getting people recruited to be in the mural society, so when the class ends someone else can take it over. It is a lot of work and they are off and running.”

Thomas said that the Central Business Cultural District has provided funds for the first mural under the direction of the Leadership Sedalia class. The first mural in the project will need to be completed by April 2016 when the class ends.

Due to cold weather, the first mural will be created on a large board indoors and then placed outdoors on a pre-selected building in the downtown area.

Thomas noted that when the Leadership Sedalia class wraps up in April she believes members of the Sedalia Visual Art Association, the Central Business Cultural District and the Tree Board with be involved in the mural society. A news release by the Chamber added that the society will “operate under Sedalia Downtown Development Inc.”

“One of the things we have to look at too, is leaders in the community that have an interest in the arts,” Thomas said. “Because you’re going to have to have financing to continue on with the mural project.

“The mural project, we don’t want to say it’s just for downtown only,” she added “We want to start with downtown because we definitely want to attract people to downtown to shop, to dine to stay.”

Freed agreed that the mural project should be city wide.

“This mural project is not necessarily targeted just for the downtown,” he noted. “I think we can have murals all over the community.”

Thomas added that murals in downtown could have one theme while murals created in other areas of Sedalia could have different themes.

“That’s going to be up to the mural society in how they want to approach that,” she said. “The (Leadership Sedalia) students and adults are thinking about past, present and future. We want it to encompass all age groups. That was very important to them.”

Thomas added that she is pleased that Leadership Sedalia is working on an art project this year.

“I love it, because we’ve never had an artistic type of project before for the Leadership steering committee and the Leadership class,” she said. “We are going to work specifically with the (Sedalia) Visual Art Association and Central Business Cultural District on the theme.

“We want it to be an acceptable theme to them as well,” she added. “Because they have a little bit more knowledge on the background of the type of artwork that would be good for Sedalia.”

She said that SVAA and the Cultural District would select the top three themes, then present it to the Leadership class who would then make the final selection.

Thomas, who is co-coordinator for Leadership Sedalia with Amy Jackson the assistant director of State Fair Community College’s LearningForce, added that the class wants the project to be for the community.

“We want it age neutral,” she said. “We want it for the young, for the old and for our future kiddos. We want our students to come back with their children and their grandchildren and say ‘look this is what we started in Leadership, and we worked with the Visual Art Association and the Central Business Cultural District. We all came together as a community.’”

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.

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