Historic Mural Soon Coming to Downtown Fort Scott: Artist Proposals Needed by May 29

The mural will be on this wall that faces the Fort Scott National Historic Site. Jerry Witt, owner of the building, had Mid-Continental Restoration Co. do the work of preparing the wall for the mural.

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Downtown Division is working to bring about a downtown historical mural’s creation that will feature the Civil War’s 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment that were stationed in Fort Scott.

“Kansas was the first Northern state to recruit, train, and send Black soldiers into combat during the Civil War,” according to the Fort Scott National Historic Site website. “Fort Scott served as the home base for both the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry, with both regiments being mustered into federal service on Fort Scott’s former parade ground.”

Captain William Mathews –a free Black, a businessman and station master on the Underground Railroad –recruited former slaves into the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Fort Scott. From the FSNHS website.

To learn more:


Jerry Witt is the owner of the building at 19 N. Main whose north outside wall faces the Fort Scott National Historic Site. Country Girl Cuts Salon is housed in the building currently. It is this wall where the mural will be created.

The plaque on the building at 19 N. Main states that at one time the building was a clothing store and the second floor a bordello. Submitted photo.

Witt contracted with Mid-Continental Restoration, Fort Scott, to “tighten up the building, tuck pointing, in preparation for the mural painting,” he said. “Any loose paint, etc.  taken off so as not to deter the new mural going up.

Jerry and Judy Witt hand out Halloween candy in from on their home  on Main Street in this photo from October 30, 2021, taken from the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. The Witts live in a historic downtown building, and own several storefront buildings in the downtown.

“We’ve had several people want to paint a mural there,” Witt said. “But this project, we are excited about because we wanted to enhance something about the history of the fort.”

The Mural Project: Looking For An Artist

“The mural public art project will offer one artist the unique opportunity to showcase their original art in the historic district of downtown Fort Scott,” according to fortscott.com

“The chosen mural will be painted on the exterior building wall facing the National Historic site, where the group was sworn in and was the first African-American regiment to fight against the Confederacy in the Civil War.

“The artwork will remain the property of the City of Fort Scott.

For request for proposal of a mural, artists are to submit the following:

  • Mural sketch including the following:
  • At least three soldiers from the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry
  • Representation of the Regimental Flag
  • Examples of previous work/exhibitions
  • Artist Contact and design concept form found here

Mural Location

The selected mural will be painted on the Star Clothing building, 19 North Main Street, on the north wall facing the National Historic site. Mural size will be 25′ x 12′, covering the existing mural.


“All proposals are due by 11:59 pm on Monday, May 29, 2023, and must be submitted via the Visit Fort Scott web page dedicated to the mural. Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted. All proposals will be reviewed by a panel of African-American consultants to ensure the mural is culturally sensitive, and then proposals will be judged blind by a panel of local artists, historians, and stakeholders. The winning proposal will be announced on Juneteenth (June 19, 2023). The winning artists must be prepared to have their murals installed no later than September 30, 2023.

“Proposals not selected may be invited to participate in a special art show hosted by the Artificers Gallery in Fort Scott, KS, to be held in January of 2024. Additionally, any proposal submitted may be used for marketing purposes by the City of Fort Scott or the Fort Scott Chamber. The artist will be cited for their work.

Selection Process and Criteria

“One artist will be selected by a panel of local judges comprised of local artists, historians, and community stakeholders. Criteria will include artistic merit, historical appropriateness, and how well the subject will translate to a mural.


“The Fort Scott Chamber Foundation , a 501c3 organization, has opened the call for artists, and is open to any Kansas resident willing to submit a proposal that can complete the requirements as specified, including the design and installation of the mural. Any design that includes advertising, soliciting, campaigning, or any other promotional or commercially-driven entries is ineligible.

Artist Compensation

“The chosen artist will be compensated through a payment of at least $5,000, which is intended as a design fee and will be paid at the completion of the mural. The selected artist will also a given a daily per diem during the project period (up to seven days) for meals/lodging if travel accommodations are required for the project. Project material costs will be covered up to $5,000 by The Fort Scott Chamber Foundation in addition to the artist fee. The artist fee could be more than the amount listed if additional funds are raised through crowdsourcing.”

5 thoughts on “Historic Mural Soon Coming to Downtown Fort Scott: Artist Proposals Needed by May 29”

  1. I have a question, but before I ask I want you to know that I DO NOT have ANYTHING against people of color. I have many good friends and family that are people of color and I love them dearly. So my question is, why does it have to be ONLY people of color? Why can’t it just be people regardless of their color. It’s one thing to mention the facts but why does it have to be plastered all over a wall? Why can’t the mural be of all colors getting along and working together? Isn’t that what we are all supposed to be working for? Just a thought.

    1. Sharon, it is obvious that you do, in fact, seem to have some very antiquated views of race. Nonetheless, to address your concern, I appreciate what this group is doing because they are showcasing men who escaped binds and chains and fought for their brethren that were still in them. The historical significance of having the FIRST EVER voluntary infantry regiment comprised of African-Americans is a national treasure to this community and the story, as the group says, is not often told. Every person that lives in Fort Scott has been told about the white soldiers and seen the depictions of them since 1852 and myself since the 1960s, so you should be okay with these black soldiers getting some appreciation and recognition. I’m white and for the longest time I was happy to go to the fort and see soldiers who looked like me, why can’t black kids feel the same? So, if the first question you have when you see this project is “why ain’t there white folk too?”, you should do some serious self-reflecting and examine whether you do, in fact, have a problem with people of color, regardless of the fact that you think having friends of color somehow absolves you from obvious discrimination.

    2. Sharon,
      The 1st Kansas Colored was not people of “all colors getting along and working together.” It was a group of fierce soldiers who trained to the north of Ft Scott and who mustered into service at Ft. Scott. They were the first group of Black Soldiers to form in the North AND the first group of Black soldiers to see Civil War combat. They were willing to sacrifice their lives to fight against the enslavement of humans. Their story isn’t told often and is little know in our community. It is our job to tell their story and connect our community and visitors to their story, not to “whitewash” it.

  2. Fort Scott is so blessed to have such giving citizens as Jerry and Judy Witt. An art piece like this will last many generations.

  3. Hmm… I thought people who posted here were required to use their first and last names, Kathy and Timmy are you brave enough to use your last name?

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