By BECKY KISER
“Paint a historical mural which would create a sense of ‘Awe’ to its viewers.”
Hays artist Dennis Schiel believes he’s accomplished that goal he set for himself.
Now Schiel’s 8-by-16-foot mural will be seen by many more viewers.
The State of Kansas Mural is hanging in the state capitol building in Topeka. It’s in Room 251-S, the Office of the Governor Conference Room, which is connected to the lieutenant governor’s office on the second floor.
The unofficial unveiling of the mural will be Jan. 29, Kansas Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Schiel will be alongside his artwork to answer questions about the mural and its creation.
The State of Kansas Historical Mural was commissioned by the Hays Arts Council. Schiel figures he spent “four years, 447 hours of library research, 2,652 hours of painting, and more than 73,000 miles of travel throughout Kansas” to complete the project.
More than 300 historical subjects grace the mural, along with the pathways that helped form the state including two railroads, the Kansas Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Other historic pathways include the Chisholm Trail , Western Cattle Trail, Parallel Road, Smokey Hill Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail and many others.
Schiel has been a professional artist for more than thirty years. He moved to Hays in 2007 from Colorado. He has received numerous historical commissions including the 150th year historical mural for Kansas State University Department of Animal Science and Industry.