Paint the town: Artist captures Wichita landmarks

By Debbie Elmore

Just when you think Bill Goffrier might have painted every notable structure in Wichita, there he is at a First Friday art gallery crawl or Old Town Farmer’s Market with another colorful rendering. And no plans to stop.

“My list is long,” he said with a laugh.

Goffrier has been painting since he was a boy. His parents encouraged him to develop his gift, enrolling him in private lessons with Wichita artist Betty Dickerson.

“I was very lucky,” he recalled. “She taught me as if I were an adult.”

Goffrier majored in art at Wichita State University but was better known back then for another creative endeavor —playing guitar in a band called The Embarrassment. Popular in both Wichita and Lawrence, the band played numerous shows and made several recordings between 1979 and their 1983 breakup. They’ve gotten together for reunions several times and were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Goffrier moved to Boston for advanced study and ended up staying for three decades. He married, raised a son, taught music and art while continuing to paint. “I always had other jobs because I had a child to support.”

He still traveled home routinely to keep in touch with family. After returning for good, he discovered a passion painting Wichita landmarks, ranging from grand homes and buildings where local history was made to funky old grain elevators and buildings that are as well known in their own way

As his work became more widely known through art shows and social media, so did the number of buyers of his paintings grow. Goffrier credits his wife for suggesting that he make smaller pieces “so more people could afford to buy them. I loved the idea.”
 Initially, Goffrier made rough sketches of the buildings he planned to paint, but he later switched to working from photographs.

He has created 236 paintings in 6 years. Last fall, he released a volume of 50 paintings in a magazine-type format, calling it “Authenti-City.” He plans to release a second volume in coming weeks. The book cost $20. It is available at the Old Town Farmers Market and goffrier.com.

Goffrier says making art is both relaxing and invigorating . “It’s therapeutic for me,” he said. “I have a new challenge with every picture.”

print