03.jpg

In 5 panels from left to right are a bright yellow old plane flying over a green patchwork field, a native businessman holding a document or map and points to a sky shape of western Nebraska, seven drummers surround a ceremonial drum in bright yellows and

Listening Back, Dreaming Forward: The Rhythms of Tonkawa in Tonkawa, Oklahoma (Photo by Dave Loewenstein): This mural is part of a project funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, a regional arts organization based in Kansas City. The goal is to bring community-based art to places unfamiliar with the process and the product. Tonkawa was first in this series. Post-tornado Joplin, Missouri, is another site and that project is getting underway this summer. The town of Tonkawa is named for a local Native-American tribe, and Loewenstein was especially interested in the relationship between the town's Native and non-Native communities. He said it was very important in the initial conversations with residents that they felt safe, that they could say what they believed. He refers to this as a "speakeasy style" where everyone gets to say their piece and not worry about being criticized. "We need to hear each other if we're going to make something that has meaning and relevance." The mural was a collaboration between the Black Sheep Art Collective, Cy Wagoner, and Dave Lowenstein.