Kelly Poling – Chillicothe’s Muralist
There are 24 murals in Chillicothe painted by a single artist: Kelly Poling! Chillicothe has become known as a city of murals, and when people see them they are intrigued and want to see more. But how did Poling get his start as a muralist?
Poling started out as an aspiring baseball player, having been drafted by the Royals out of high school in Omaha, Nebraska. Poling says he chose, with urging from his family, to go to college in Hutchinson, KS, studying art as a fall back in case baseball didn’t work out. From there he received a scholarship to the University of Arkansas to pitch. He says that is where he threw his arm out. He returned to Nebraska and studied art.
Poling says his first mural is still there, on a Quonset hut in Nebraska.
Poling says his first mural in Chillicothe was done in 2000.
Poling says the murals here led to painting murals in other locations across Missouri as well as in other states.
When he is commissioned to paint a mural, Poling says a site is selected and a theme or design is chosen. He comes up with some sketches, but before he puts paint on the wall, he needs the final design drawn to scale.
Poling’s most recent mural is in the south wall of the Cultural Corner Art Guild and Gallery. He says this is the only mural that actually includes him as part of the mural.
Poling says if you look closely at the murals, you will find names of family members hidden some place.
So where is the next mural in Chillicothe? Poling says that one is already in the planning stages and the wall is ready.
He says if all goes well, that mural could be complete before the end of the year.
If you would like to see some of the other murals painted by Kelly Poling, go to kellypoling.com