Downtown Wichita > Discover > Placemaking > Gallery Alley > Overview
Gallery Alley is a playground for the senses - full of color, sound and touch. The alley is a destination for intersensory art experiences featuring five sculptures created by local artists Armando Minjarez, Denise Irwin, Laura Shank, Mike Miller and Tomiyo Tajiri. The works were created with a conscious effort to serve all visitors, including specific consideration for individuals with low to no vision. Experience the artwork, explore the local businesses located at the Shops at Gallery Alley and enjoy a coffee or lunch break using the cafe seating available in the space.
Gallery Alley is a placemaking project that contributes to the identity, character and culture of downtown by serving as an activator and catalyst for continued growth. Enhancing vibrancy through placemaking and programming is one of the Downtown Wichita organization's key areas of focus.
Downtown Wichita partnered with Envision and received a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to enhance Gallery Alley.
Learn more about each artist and the inspiration behind their unique works.
From underutilized to unique. Gallery Alley transformed an underutilized alley into a vibrant public space. Experience life-size sculptures by local artists and leisurely enjoy your lunch on the outdoor dining furniture at this unique space located at 616 E. Douglas Avenue, Wichita, KS 67202.
In 2017, Downtown Wichita received a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to create a temporary public space in the alley. The organization transformed the space into Gallery Alley, which included the addition of life-size sculptures by local artists, café seating, festoon lighting and a community mural on the brick pavers. The alley served as a venue for local artists to showcase their work during the First Friday monthly art crawl. Following these temporary improvements, the City of Wichita permanently closed the alley to vehicular traffic in 2019 in an effort to improve pedestrian safety and encourage walkability.
With the alley now established as a permanent public space, Downtown Wichita partnered with Envision and received an additional grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to further enhance the space by creating a destination for inter-sensory art experiences. A Call for Entry was released and closed on August 30, 2019. Five local artists' proposals were selected to create work for the alley with a conscious effort to serve all visitors, with specific consideration for individuals of all ages who are blind, visually impaired and for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The artwork is currently being installed and will debut on Friday, July 2 from 6-9 p.m. during the free, First Friday local art crawl.
Now an activated public space, Gallery Alley served as the catalyst for renovations to the adjacent historic buildings. Bokeh Development transformed the ground floor of The Renfro building (western side of the alley) into the Shops at Gallery Alley - adding three new retail storefronts. Stoppel Investments, LCC made renovations to the Old Town Apartments building (eastern side of the alley) with an updated commercial space that now houses Cohlmia Marketing Group. Both renovation projects added new entryways, windows and exterior signage that welcomes visitors to explore Gallery Alley.