It took nearly two years for Victor Rose to complete the vibrant 9-by-17-foot mural he created for Healing Wichita CBD+ shop in a shopping plaza at Harry and Rock Road.
Much like Rose himself — a lifelong Wichita resident who has been involved in many creative endeavors — the mural features various elements and layers, incorporating iconic Wichita images and the city’s skyline, the Arkansas River, a firmly planted tree and variations on circular cultural symbols (the Celtic knot, mandalas and the yin/yang). He calls it “Healing Wichita.”
Rose, 66, has nourished a passion for art since kindergarten. A few years later, in a Sunday School class, he met a fellow third-grader who would become his kindred creative and wife. The pair have been married for 48 years. Gwen Rose retired last year from a 30-year career teaching art in the Derby public schools. She’s known for her intensely colored floral paintings, often displayed at Botanica, where three times her works graced its annual posters. the annual posters. For the past two decades, the pair have been fixtures at the local renaissance festivals, drawing temporary henna tattoos for festivalgoers.
Victor Rose earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from Wichita State, going on to teach art and humanities classes at Cowley and Butler Community colleges and Newman University, where he managed the Steckline Gallery for several years.
He retired from teaching in spring 2020, and the “Healing Wichita” mural became his creative focus. The shop also is displaying a series of 21 prints from Rose’s sketchbook.
For 40 years, Rose has also owned and run a janitorial and property maintenance company. About 15 years ago, he started an art and sculpture maintenance and restoration business. His company maintains the sculptures at Resthaven, a west Wichita cemetery where several massive bronze sculptures have been installed, including a cast-bronze eagle with a 22-foot wingspan, an 18-foot bronze of Jesus and a memorial to Sedgwick County public safety officers killed in the line of duty.
Rose is also a founding member and bass player with The Benders, a 1950s and ’60s rock band that was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2015. For the past 10 years, he’s played guitar and sung in a band called Nimbodog with his son, Levi.
While he retired from his art education career, Rose plans to keep in motion with his artistic endeavors and other passions. He finds solace in meditation, yoga and walking. As a teen, he recalled, he would walk from East High to West High, where Gwen was a student, to accompany her home. The pair, who own 15 tents, also love primitive camping. Both are members of the Kansas Native Plant Society.
“I don’t like the idea of retiring,” Rose said. “Leaving teaching was about making life easier.”
Rose’s mural can be seen during regular business hours, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, at Healing Wichita CBD+, 7918 E. Harry. Copies of Rose’s three CDs, including one for meditation, are also available for sale.
Contact Amy Geiszler-Jones at email@example.com.