Midtown Crossing is adding even more beauty to this season of renewal by unveiling two vibrant, new murals – a pair of visually-engaging public art “stories” produced by renowned Omaha artist Watie White.
Now on display in two prime locations, White describes the murals – “Turner Park” and “Eastbound Zeppelins” – as visually dense.
“The narratives tell a non-linear story that inserts a sense of absurdity into an initially straightforward composition,” White explains. “These paintings are intended to have amusing and heartfelt moments that entertain a viewer for a long time as they look and ﬁnd new things at each subsequent viewing.”
(3201 Farnam Street above the new LeadBelly space)
Highlighting the natural beauty of Turner Park, White says the namesake mural was inspired by the life and activity of the park itself: Community events, Bocce ball tournaments, Yoga in the Park and the diversity of families (with their various pets) enjoying the shared community.
“This composition also draws heavily on my own experiences of living at Midtown Crossing from 2012-2014,” White says. “Many of the characters who populate the park are friends and colleagues I grew connections to during that time: the artist Therman Statom, his daughter and their cats; Kenley and Jara Sturdivant-Wilson and their Chihuahuas; and the owners of Hutch, Brandon Beed and Nick Huff.”
Each model chose their own poses and objects that offer a glimpse into their personalities.
(3157 Farnam St., east side of Chicago Dawg House)
White says the idea for “Eastbound Zeppelins” emerged after doing extensive research in the archives at the Douglas County Historical Society. Of immediate resonance were historical photographs of zeppelins and weather balloons launched from Fort Calhoun.
“The Zeppelins, in particular, seemed comically anachronistic,” White says. “The idea quickly grew into melding aspects of the local historical past with the current view of downtown Omaha in such a way that it would present an amusing visual puzzle.”
Mural elements such as the window cleaners and a street parade contribute to an “overall sense of magical realism.”
The murals will be on display indefinitely. White says both works were heavily influenced by the works of Rembrandt Van Rijn and Pieter Brueghel.
About the Artist
Ppainter, printmaker and public artist – has been based in Omaha since 2006. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, his work has been shown internationally, including at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Ark), Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN) and Telfair Museums (Savannah, GA). His site-specific social practice has led to large-scale public art projects with area nonprofits: Habitat for Humanity-Omaha, InCOMMON Community Development and Justice for Our Neighbors-NE. www.Watiewhite.com
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