On February 19, members of the Yellowbrick Street Team took to the sidewalks of downtown Wichita to launch our latest project: Vortex

With stencils cut at MakeICT, we used a superhydrophobic coating to apply select lines from Allen Ginsberg's "Wichita Vortex Sutra" - retracing the steps Ginsberg took through Wichita. The coating is invisible and appears only when it rains - instead of penetrating the concrete and changing its color, the superhydrophobic coating causes water to bead up and roll off, leaving the concrete dry underneath.

The poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra" was inspired by Ginsberg's realization that so many of the creative talents he knew in San Francisco were originally from Wichita. The term "Wichita Vortex" was coined to explain the exodus of artistic talents from the city, which many thought stifled their creative energies.

Due to the anti-war, provocative nature of the poem, Ginsberg was initially banned from reading it in Wichita. He eventually was able to give a reading at Moody's Skid Row Beanery - the "Center of the Vortex" - on the site of what is now Naftzger Park. The ordeal, and the poem itself, came to be a cultural touchstone in Wichita.

The value of creative energy in creating a lovable city is readily apparent and should not be forgotten - our recognition should not appear and disappear depending on external conditions. Rain or Shine, the arts matter.