Branson’s Newest Mural Taking Shape at Centennial Museum

Rose O'Neill Mural in Downtown Branson

Thanks to the hard work, creativity and fundraising of two area women, a new 21-foot by 28-foot mural is taking shape in Downtown Branson on the south side of the Centennial Museum at the corner of Commercial and Pacific streets. The mural memorializes famous Ozarkian Rose O’Neill.

The project is being brought to life by Kansas City resident Delanie Johnson and Hollister muralist Christine Riutzel. The pair became friends over Instagram and conceived of the art project to pay tribute to one of area’s most famous (and often forgotten) residents.

Rose O’Neill was the first published female cartoonist in the United States, living from 1874 until 1944. She was an illustrator, artist, writer, suffragist, activist, and philanthropist. She rose to fame for her creation of the popular comic strip characters, Kewpies, in 1909 and became a prominent figure in the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th Century. Bonniebrooke, her home just 10 miles north of Branson, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For a time O’Neill was the highest-paid female illustrator in the world upon the success of the Kewpie dolls and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In later years, she studied sculpture in Paris under famed artist Auguste Rodin.

The 21st-Century artists set out to create a mural that honored O’Neill and also celebrated her artwork and the causes she championed. Riutzel created the design, and the pair set out to get all the permissions and legal clearances to create the new artwork. For the past year, they’ve been raising money by selling pins and patches online and also at Kewpiesta, the annual convention of the International Rose O’Neill Club Foundation.

The mural includes a portrait of O’Neill, as well as many of her trademark creations, including the Cupid-like Kewpies, Little Ho Ho and an image of her Bonniebrook Homestead.

The mural should be completed around the end of April, 2024… just in time for Kewpiesta 2024, which is April 24-28 in Branson.

More information about O’Neill, the artists and project is available at