Governor Kelly Announces 14 Rural Communities Receiving Funding for New Murals

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced 14 communities will receive funding through the Office of Rural Prosperity’s Rural Mural and Public Art grant program. The $76,071 in grants awarded will allow communities to create 38 new murals and public art projects that engage community residents and create a place for the community to gather and enjoy. Since 2021, the Office of Rural Prosperity has funded more than 43 murals in 25 communities.

“Our Rural Mural program continues to gain momentum as a way to showcase and celebrate small towns across Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “My administration will continue supporting local community efforts to enhance their sense of place and quality of life.”

Awardees are in communities across the state with less than 15,000 population. The murals will highlight community gathering spaces and tourist attractions – and provide a welcome message for visitors and residents alike. Each of the projects requires a 1:1 match from the community, with the smallest of communities being allowed to match the grant with in-kind donations. 75% of the grant funding will be gifted upfront as several of the city projects plan to start in the next few weeks.

“The Rural Murals already completed have added a unique attraction that communities are proud to display,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “As tourism in Kansas is on the rise, particularly in rural areas where visitors increasingly go to get off the beaten path, these new murals will encourage people to experience more great locations across the state.”

The organizations that are being awarded for FY 2024 include:

  • The Arts Center, Inc.; Anthony and Attica; $7,500
  • City of Cedar Vale; $1,500
  • City of Cheney; $3,603
  • Fort Scott Area Chamber Foundation; $5,250
  • Northwest Kansas Technical College; Goodland; $4,250
  • 5.4.7 Arts Center; Greensburg; $7,368
  • Graham County; Hill City; $7,500
  • Wichita County Economic Development, Inc.; Leoti; $4,500
  • Vesper Community Club, Inc.; Vesper Township; $7,500
  • City of Lyons; $7,500
  • The Greater Manhattan Community Foundation; Blue Rapids Community Action Team Fund, Blue Rapids; $2,350
  • City of Smith Center; $7,500
  • City of Uniontown; $2,250
  • Winfield Area Chamber of Commerce; Winfield; $7,500

“The innovation and creativity that these communities demonstrated in their applications was phenomenal,” said Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity Trisha Purdon. “We can’t wait to see how these new murals and public art projects will help energize these communities and increase tourism and community engagement.”

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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