Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Santa Fe Park Mural complete with ribbon cutting ceremony

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The artists who covered vandalism with a mural were honored with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Santa Fe Park.

After someone painted graffiti on a toilet building in Santa Fe Park, the Oakland community responded by having three artists, Jamie Colon, Andy Valdivia and Robert Bustamante, painting murals on all sides of the building to cover it up.

June 2020 – Police and Park Police opened an investigation after seeing hate speech against the Black Lives Matter movement’s graffiti in the park and bathroom building.

The building is now covered in bright colors, a Santa Fe Railroad mural, a peace symbol, and a grassy mural. They hope to be able to show positive images that could be correlated with the neighborhood and anti-vandalism-like images.

“You have the peace sign, this picture popped up in my head as a direct result of what I saw on the wall. So it would be the opposite of what happened, ”Colon said.

Colon, who lives in the neighborhood, said he hears positive things from people who see his work alongside other artists’ work.

“I walk around the neighborhood you know and go for a walk and you look up and you can see them in the distance walking around the building and looking at it. Many of them are children, which is fun, but you can see the parents getting through. “

He said wall design ideas and planning meetings can take time, but he wanted to paint quickly. Colon was originally assigned to paint the entire building but turned to community members he trusted for help.

“I wanted to avoid that, because the longer this process has taken, the more opportunities there are for this vandalism, and I wanted to try to avoid that.”

In total, it took about 10 working days to complete the piece in October.

“We always had to fit in when the weather allowed us to fit in. One day we came out, the next day it was 32 degrees outside, so we skipped a day. “

Colon wanted to use bright colors so everyone could see his work, all year round, in all seasons. “If it’s gray in winter or so green in autumn or spring and summer, you have all these bright colors that stand out and always catch the eye.”

Parks and Rec used the building and community members as a beta project. They hope they can paint buildings in other neighborhoods.

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