Artist Statement: City Bird Keeper (Wichita District 3, Clapp Park)
Sarah & Chiyoko Myose
We are incredibly grateful to paint one of the Keepers on Parade to commemorate Wichita’s 150th birthday. The Keeper has become a symbol of unity and identity in our city, and we are reminded of the history and roots of this work of art. We would like to give our utmost respect and homage to Blackbear Bosin, the Kiowa-Comanche artist who created the original Keeper of the Plains, and Native Americans in Wichita and across the United States. The Keeper is a reminder to us of the land we are on and indigenous cultures that are often overlooked and misrepresented. We are reminded that, unlike Native Americans, we are all immigrants and sojourners on this land in the United States, and the Keeper is a symbol of this unity and strength we have as a community.
Our design for the Keeper illustrates the colorful, bright, and active personality of District 3, where Clapp Park is located. We decided to include buildings, imagery, and symbols from the north end of District 3 to create this design. Notable buildings include the Clapp Park clubhouse, Water Center, St. Joseph Hospital, All Saints Catholic Church, John Mack Bridge, and WSU Tech campus. These structures are interesting. In a sense, they illustrate different facets of peoples' needs such as medical, educational, spiritual, political, and social needs. We chose this stylized and simplified mode of rendering to create a vibrant and whimsical tone.
At the base of the Keeper, an overlapping river illustrates the Arkansas River that flows throughout the district, while a bright, blue sky breaks through.
Large, white birds fly through the Keeper, which symbolize the district’s history of manufacturing airplanes, the McConnell Air force base, and the significance of being at the heart of the “Air Capital” of the world. Flying upward, the birds illustrate the community’s efforts to soar high and “fly” together.
Colorful circles overlap the elements in the design, which are exemplary of the round shape of golf balls and disc golf. Both golf and disc golf are activities based on the importance of working towards a common goal. These games provide the opportunity to find respite in recreation, exploration, and leisure outdoors. They have both been the main attraction at Clapp Park. The circles also represent the movement of thoughts.
At the back of the Keeper, two hands meet to shake hands to illustrate the shared value of working together as a community. Through thick and thin, the people of District 3 continue to thrive and collaborate with one another and make a community that is strong and firm.
We hope to illustrate thriving scenery for District 3 and celebrate the area’s history and diversity of experiences. This Keeper design is a symbol of a multitude of perspectives, personalities, and positive experiences in the community.