Local artist behind Boot Hill Museum murals

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
Dave Wetmore works on one of the six murals he was commissioned to paint for Boot Hill Museum as part of the STAR Bonds expansion.

Included with the several additions coming to Boot Hill Museum thanks to the STAR Bonds expansion project, guests will notice the murals covering the walls, painted by local and veteran artist Dave Wetmore.

Wetmore was approached by Boot Hill Museum in November 2019, during the early stages of the expansion project.

“They said they were doing something and asked if I was interested in working on it and at that point they didn’t have all the walls up yet, so at that point I wasn’t sure what I was saying yes to,” Wetmore said. “But I told them I’d be happy to work on it.”

Once the walls to the new exhibits were built, Wetmore began painting the murals in the middle of January.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Wetmore was still able to paint. He said there was not much of a difference since he typically worked alone.

“I’d get in there about 9 a.m. and work until about 4 p.m. everyday, Monday through Friday,” Wetmore said.

Despite anticipated COVID-19 complications, he met the original May 1 deadline.

Wetmore attended Kansas State University, where he majored in computer science. It was there that he took his first painting class and, after graduating, traveled and gave lessons as a professional artist.

He took a tenure from painting, taking a job working for Cimarron Insurance in the data processing department. He returned to art by painting backdrops for the Depot Theater.

In addition to the six murals, Wetmore is currently working on adding a map of the Native American tribes that were local to the surrounding area and a map of the cattle trails that passed through Dodge City.

The new exhibits, including the murals, are projected to be open around the end of September.