Even during the winter, meadowlarks and sunflowers will remain visible at the state fair

Alice Mannette
The Hutchinson News
Governor Laura Kelly talks to people in front of the new mural painted by Brady Scott on the Visit Hutch Visitor Information Booth at the Kansas State Fair Thursday morning.

After a year's hiatus, the Kansas State Fair was happy to unveil new scenery — a Kansas State Mural. 

During her visit to the fair on Thursday, Gov. Laura Kelly cut the official ribbon for the newly painted mural, welcoming the artwork to the fair.

"This is exactly what needed to be here," the governor said. "So many things happen when something like this is put up."

Kelly said murals, along with adding beauty, serve as a morale booster and message center. 

Last fall, Visit Hutch applied for 40/60 matching grant through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism and, after it was awarded in February, covered the 60% portion of the costs.

Central Kansas artist Brady Scott was chosen to paint a mural on the building right behind the rocket on the fairgrounds. His only requirement was to have the message of "To the stars," the state tourism department's new tagline, which builds upon the state's motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera, meaning “to the stars through difficulty.”

“'To The Stars' reminds us who we are and shows us where to go,” said Kansas tourism director Bridgette Jobe. “It inspires our visitors to explore our great state."

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Along with Western meadowlarks flanking the building's opening, the mural features sunflowers, grain elevators, a water tower, and street lights.

Kelly announced that more murals were a part of the grant program, bringing people together and adding beauty to the landscape. 

"This is one of a number of murals that will be going up across the state," Kelly said. "(Soon), the lieutenant governor and I will go from county to county highlighting each mural."

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Artist Brady Scott, right, talks with Gov. Laura Kelly before the ribbon cutting in front of the mural he painted at the Kansas State Fair. From left are Bridgette Jobe, Holly Leiker, Debra Teufel, Gov. Laura Kelly and Leann Cox.