Letter to the editor: Sunny Dayz Mural Festival mis-information

March 28, 2024 | Featured|Headlines

Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Christina Rich-Splawn concerning negative comments and mis-information about the upcoming Sunny Days Mural Fest 2024, scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. on June 1 in downtown. At least three dozen murals are set to be revealed and live music is planned.

Well, once again I have been dismayed by some of my fellow Ponca Cityians. It seems the pitchforks-torches-cry-havoc-and-let-slip-the-dogs-of-war contingency is again showing its inestimable ignorance by creating a hue and cry over the Sunny Dayz Mural Festival, happening the last week of May. We are incredibly fortunate to have the talented group of artists in our town creating exceptional public art. Public art is defined as “ . . art in any media whose form, function and meaning are created for the general public through a public process.” It is also free to view. And how delightful is it that all the businesses involved have shown generosity in participating in this seminal artistic event. 

   Sunny Dayz is here to to celebrate the uniqueness of our community: our multiple cultures, our history – both glorious and heinous, – our artistry, our attractions and so much more. It is culminating on one of the most important Saturdays in our calendar. There will be crowds of visitors for Draggin’ Grand, the Herb Festival, the Fly-in-Breakfast, Schooners Car Club Show. To add this prestigious event to the list of great FREE events is a stroke of luck for Ponca City to show off. In fact, the 2023 Herb Festival garnered an estimated 9000 visitors to our community. As Sunny Dayz has a big following, that amount will significantly increase, raising not only positive awareness of us, but sales tax dollars and income for local businesses. 

   BUT, the above mentioned pitchforks-torches-etc. group is instead excoriating the event based on MISINFORMATION and fear of change. (Terron Liles has very courageously posted all the true facts about the event on his Facebook page. Please read it.) As I quoted in a previous open letter, Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.” I can assure you that Change is NOT a 10 foot tall cloaked, cadaverous monstrosity which swoops in to create catastrophe while cackling insanely. Change is simple the functioning of life itself. How energizing is it to look forward to the annual event of this weekend in June and know something new and exciting will be part of the celebration! 

   This change is in a large part to the younger generation taking up the mantle of leadership in our community. How many times have I heard the Boomer and WW II generations lament the inactivity and sense of entitlement of this younger generation (and I admit, as a Boomer, I have done such). However, here they are, looking to the future, exploring creative options to keep Ponca City vital, making lasting differences – in short, EXACTLY what we want them to do. Doing what leaders do. And yes, they are ignoring the hackneyed adage/whine, “but we’ve always done it this way.” They are also forging bravely ahead even when pelted with imprecations and maledictions. If you, the older generation, look back through the fogs of Time at your own younger days, you also forged bravely ahead, trying to make a lasting difference despite the hackneyed adages and diatribes. Your efforts did not result in the Disintegration of Society into Ravening Barbaric Hordes or create a Black Hole which sucked Humanity down into the Pit of Eternal Horror. Instead, we have grown and thrived, as we will continue to do. 

   When the murals have been finished, there is a very uncomplicated technique for those of you who wish to preserve your sanctimoniousness. It is simple. Don’t Look. You can accomplish this by a.) not walking down that alley, b.) if you do walk down the alley, merely look the other direction of the mural you dislike or c.) stay at home bemoaning and wailing in your cups. But please stop forcing your fear of Change down others throats. Also, Please. Shut. Up. 

X-tina—Christina Rich-Splawn, Ponca City