Pride Journey Outdoors: Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas is located in the heart of America, meaning it is easily accessible from almost any direction and will make for a perfect weekend getaway. Visitors will be surprised by the LGBTQ community and overall friendliness of the people. Here are some suggestions for exploring Wichita.
Self-guided Mural Tours
Urban art is alive and well in Wichita. The city’s art takes many forms, but none illustrates our personality better than the murals decorating the city’s core. From positive messages to civic pride, the vibrant paintings enliven our neighborhoods and engage the community in an appreciation for art. Check out this mural guide where you can find some of the city’s most photogenic murals, many added during art festivals like Avenue Art Days in the Douglas Design District and Summer Mural Jam in Wichita's North End. Also in the North End, the Horizontes project has inspired many murals – including the largest mural in North America by a single artist – to the area. Learn more about all of the art in this neighborhood through the Horizontes website.
Public Art Installations
You can also explore Wichita’s art scene by touring public art installations in Wichita. In a four-block area in the heart of downtown Wichita, you’ll find a collection of 31 lifelike bronze sculptures by Washington artist Georgia Gerber. Keeper of the Plains is the largest sculpture, located in Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park, where a Woolworth five-and-dime store once stood. The sculpture re-creates a soda fountain that might have been in the store. While the artist said the sculpture was not made to memorialize the 1958 anti-segregation lunch counter sit-ins that took place nearby, she did consider the events and “the black man and his grandson were placed at the counter as an intentional acknowledgment of the Dockum Drug Store sit-ins and the peaceful integration it brought about.” Other unique public art to view in Wichita includes the Joan Miró “Personnages Oiseaux” at Ulrich Museum of Art-Wichita State University and “Dreamers Awake,” a giant bronze sculpture outside of the Wichita Art Museum by artist Tom Otterness, who was born in Wichita in 1952 and is today considered one of America’s most prolific public artists.
Biking and Walking
Wichita offers up a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors, including more than 140 parks and greenways covering more than 5,000 acres. When downtown, start at the Keeper of the Plains Plaza and work your way through the city's core. Bike Walk Wichita has many resources for walking and biking the city. You can download the Bike Walk Wichita app for free to access its collection of self-guided walks and rides, complete with points of interest and historical information to enjoy as you explore. The Wichita Public Library offers the PocketSights app, which allows users to explore Wichita's history with the Wichita History Walk. The app will send alerts to sites that have historic significance, including images and a story with audio narration. Learn more at wichitalibrary.org/historywalk.
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Photos Courtesy of Visit Wichita
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