Key project artists Connie Fitzpatrick and Marylin Hinojosa will also work closely with two project mentors: Imani A. Wadud, a PhD student in the Department of American Studies at KU, and Nedra Bonds, a Kansas City Artist and Activist. With their help they will collect stories for the mural from many women within the city. After they have completed their research, they will invite women of color from many walks of life and different perspectives to be part of the design team. This will build a foundation for the mural and honor the women – by giving them an opportunity to share their stories and be represented in a public space.
The team will document their gathered histories using audio, video, and photography for uploading to the project’s website. The painting aspect of the mural will be open to any community member who would like to join in the painting process, as part of a community event. They will use resources from the library and from other artists to edit and project the images that will be produced from the oral histories they collect.
The location of this mural is important to the project because the Lawrence Public Library (LPL) is well-loved by the community and already has a diverse and constantly changing audience. (Connie and Marylin have a verbal agreement with the LPL, which will be finalized upon the design approval.) Having their mural on city property (the parking garage walls) and adjacent to LPL will be a historic action and symbol as it becomes part of the community. This location is also accessible to all kinds of people, from young to old, and rich to poor.
The team acknowledges that they are not expert historians, muralists or “established” artists. For that reason they will collaborate with organizations in their community – such as the Lawrence Public Library, Haskell Indian Nations University, Centro Hispano and Watkins Museum of History. The importance of a team of brown and black hands creating this public mural and project-website about women who look like them is important, as it shows a truer representation of diverse skins, shapes, and existence as women of color. The women will be out in a public space, showing their contributions and voices. This project will let girls, women, and the rest of the community see that women of color are here, have been here for a long time, and will continue to be part of Kansas.
Right now there is a lack of representation of women of color in history through public education, city museums, and other public spaces, and art in general. Connie and Marylin want this project to open greater engagement with the arts, create new opportunities to be heard, and expand possibilities through representation. The mural will give the underrepresented communities of Lawrence a voice, and anyone with access to the Internet will have a window into the existence, experiences, and history of Kansan women of color.
Connie Fiorella Fitzpatrick is an artist, designer, and adventure cartographer. Her work often reflects her Peruvian heritage and an inspiration to create community growth through visuals and communication. As a community member Connie is currently engaged in the Women Of Color Maker collective through the Lawrence Creates MakerSpace. She also serving as a Community Coordinator for the Lawrence Sunrise Project; collecting data through alternative methods such as story sharing and photo-voice collection for the Douglas County Food Policy Plan.
Marylin Esther Hinojosa is a multi-disciplinary artist in Kansas. She is a Latinx woman from southwest Kansas. She earned an Associate of Arts at Dodge City Community College 2011 and graduated from the Arts Program at the University of Kansas in 2015. She has experience with multiple community mural projects. Marylin was a part of a large, collaborative commissioned sculpture project for the Federal Reserve of Kansas City in 2014. She is also a board member of the Enclave, an art collaborative, and a member of W.O.C* Makers in Lawrence KS. *w.o.c.: pronounced woke; woman of color.
Nedra Bonds is an artist who uses her talents to share messages about social justice and to teach and preserve history. Her primary art medium is quilt making, and has created more than 100 so far. These have been displayed in various traveling art shows, and locally at the Jazz Museum, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Park University. She majored in American Studies at the University of Kansas and spent some time teaching college classes and working in the field of education.