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Posted on: September 22, 2021

Manhattan is Abuzz About Six New Murals and its First-ever Air Guitar Competition

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Incite MHK has done it again. This group of volunteers coordinated a two-week event to add six new murals to The Little Apple in September, including one that’s 90-feet long on the west side of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce’s office downtown.

Inspired by community art seen on a MACC-organized trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, Incite MHK staged its first local mural installation in 2019. Jeff Sackrider, a member of Incite MHK, said it was important to the group to have all six of the new murals be installed in one narrow window of time — dubbed Incite ’21 — to garner the community’s attention. (Read more about how Incite MHK got started.)

“We really wanted to get some excitement going as we activated these spaces and showed people what’s possible in our community,” Sackrider said. “We’ve already seen people going from location to location conducting their own unofficial art crawls. It’s created a festival feel.”

The public has loved documenting the artists’ progress on social media. While the mural at the Chamber is being painted by local artists Taylor Carr and Jess Kerr, many of the others have been created by artists who travel the globe developing large outdoor art installations.  

“Murals are a great way to share the personality of our community. Our mural on the Chamber building celebrates icons from throughout the community, and it will provide great photo opportunities,” said Karen Hibbard, director the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re so excited to have this happy mural to welcome people to The Little Apple.”

Social media has been abuzz for several weeks as fans of these new public art installations have watched them pop up simultaneously.

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Picture4Costs associated with the murals have been underwritten through private donations and grants, primarily from the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation’s Diehl Fund, established with the estate of long-time residents Lincoln and Dorothy Diehl.

In addition to grant funds, Sackrider said Incite MHK has had a lot of additional community support, with gifts as small as $5 from individuals to major in-kind support from businesses.

“It’s truly been a community-funded effort,” Sackrider said. “But none of this would have been possible without the Diehl gift and the trust of the GMCF to let us do awesome things with the money.”

A highlight of the two-week event was an appearance by Nordic Thunder, the “greatest air guitar player in the world.” The privately funded performance and competition was held in conjunction with the community’s Third Thursday downtown arts event Sept. 16. Kansas State University student Max Lansdowne, from Manhattan, was named the champion of the event. (Read local coverage.)

If you’re interested in learning more about the artists, discovering where the murals are and how you can contribute to Incite MHK’s future activities, visit incitemhk.org.

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