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PCEDC awarded murals grant from state
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LARNED — The Pawnee County Economic Development Commission in Larned now has state funds to help with proposed mural projects in the Larned community.

On June 7, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced that 12 communities and organizations will receive a combined $78,000 to allow 20 new murals and public art projects to revive public spaces and engage residents and visitors.

“Murals and public art installations welcome people to our rural communities while developing community pride and showcasing the rich history of our state,” Gov. Kelly said. “Investments in this program allow art to flourish and enhance public spaces for visitors and communities alike.”

The PCEDC received $7,500 for a multiple-mural project in the downtown business district. PCEDC board president Landon Erway noted that the grant was sought with the intent to provide welcome signage to “historic downtown Larned.” Several projects are underway in the community to enhance the downtown business district’s impression to visitors that include facade improvement and infrastructure repair.

The PCEDC based in Larned is a non-profit organization established to promote and encourage economic development and growth in agriculture, tourism, healthcare, transportation and industry in Pawnee County.

Gov. Kelly noted that the Office of Rural Prosperity’s Rural Mural Public Art grant program awardees are in communities across the state with a population of less than 15,000. The murals will highlight community gathering spaces and tourist attractions.

Each project requires a one-to-one match from the community, with the smallest of communities allowed to match the grant with in-kind donations. Seventy-five percent of the grant funding will be gifted upfront as several projects plan to start in the next few weeks.

“Working with local partners to develop compelling places across the state is one of the initiatives detailed in the Kansas Framework for Growth – our state’s economic development strategic plan,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The Kelly-Toland administration is keenly focused on strengthening community assets that help keep younger Kansans interested in staying here. Every completed Rural Mural is a testament to that commitment.”

Since 2021, the Office of Rural Prosperity has funded 77 murals in 38 communities.

Other awardees for FY2025 included:

Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce, $7,500

Colby/Thomas County Chamber of Commerce, $7,500

Greater Salina Community Foundation (Damar, Palco), $7,500

Downs Community Connection, $7,500

City of Ellis, $7,500

Fowler Arts Council, $7,500

Hardtner Community Foundation, $7,000

Inman’s Museum Association, $7,500

City of LeRoy, $3,000

Wabaunsee County Historical Society, $7,500

Melvern Community P.R.I.D.E., $1,300

“This round of Rural Murals and Public Art applications included so many communities that have not ever received funding from Commerce before,” Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity Trisha Purdon said. “We are excited to see so many empowered communities that are excited to welcome visitors and residents to witness these beautiful and creative visual expressions of community identity and history.”