ELLINWOOD, KAN. — El Dorado Hills school teacher and artist Tim Conway made a major mark in a Midwest town, creating a monumental mural dedicated to the history of Ellinwood and the Santa Fe Trail.
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The mural is more that 30 feet tall and 50 feet wide. It graces the wall of the historic 1887 Dick Building in a town famous for fascinating history.
The mural was commissioned by the Ellinwood Community Historical Society and artist Conway was asked to design a mural that illustrated the diversity of the area.
He painted three “postcard images” in monochromatic sepia tones — the Santa Fe Trail, the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and the local Wolf Brewing Company depicted in wagons and trains.
The background of the mural shows the importance of wheat, cattle, oil and wildlife to the area.
Ellinwood is also famous for its “underground city” which thrived during the 1870s through the 1920s. The far west end of the mural shows a local gent descending into this underground world.
“Conway was able to complete the project in an amazing 14 days” said building owner Richard Casagrande. “People came from all over the state to see the work in progress and it also became very much a community event.”
The Kansas mural will be dedicated in January and the more than 160 donors to the project will be invited to attend. While the historical society raised the funds to sponsor the mural, Conway generously donated his time and talent.
“I hope the mural will last for many years,” Conway said. “It fulfills a long-time dream of creating a larger than life historical image.”
Conway teaches seventh-grade science in the Granite Bay School District at Olympus Jr. High School. He also runs the art club, coaches volleyball and was instrumental in bringing the project “Lead the Way” to the school.
The artist has painted numerous murals in California, including a major piece for the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. The project in Kansas was his first venture outside the state.
For more information about Conway’s art visit timconwayart.com.