After 10 years, a retired art teacher puts finishing touches on mural

1 mural turned into 5 depicting the history of Topeka
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 6:06 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - 10 years and more than 4,600 hours of painting later, Andrew Valdivia’s 96 foot long mural is finally finished in the Marlo Cuevas-Balandran Activity Center.

“I’m trying to get something that people like and see and they like the color and people on the outside can say “wow this is beautiful! It’s a beautiful piece of artwork.,” said Valdivia, a retired art teacher who has painted several murals across Topeka. “For the people here it’s a lot of memories. For those people, this is history.”

Once Andy would get close to finishing the mural, someone would always come to him with one more thing to paint.

“I did a mural called our history and I thought it was going to be my first and only and it ended up being the first of five,” said Valdivia. “When I did that, people started coming up to me “well you don’t have anything on the Aztecs, you don’t have anything on Billard Park, you don’t have anything on a whole gamut of things. So I went back to the drawing board.”

He says it’s his dedication to the details that drives up the time.

“That’s 95 men in that picture there and they all have faces and noses and ears and teeth and I try to get as much of it as I can, it’s very detailed.”

And why did he keep at it through the years? Because it is his passion.

“Ask Mahomes why he likes passing. It’s a passion, it’s a purpose and it’s combined and it kind of feels both,” said Valdivia.

As for the mural, Andy say’s he’s done, but time will tell.

“I think I’m done and I’ve said that several times so we’ll see what happens with that,” said Valdivia.

You can catch more of Valdivia’s work at the Marlo Cuevas-Balandran Activity Center as well as across Topeka.