Barton County Arts Council Friends and Acquaintances Art Festival
September 20, 2017
Story by Micah Oelze
A wide range of local artists’ work will be on display at the Shafer Gallery as part of the Barton County Arts Council Friends and Acquaintances Art Festival from Sept. 29-Nov. 4. An opening night reception at 6 p.m. Sept. 29. The show is underwritten by the Bill J. McKown Memorial Endowment distributed by the Golden Belt Foundation.
“The heart of a community is revealed in the artistic expression of its citizens,” Shafer Gallery Director Dave Barnes said. “The Barton County Arts Council Friends and Acquaintances Art Festival gives our community the opportunity to see the wide gamut of artistic enterprise in our county. All styles, experience levels and viewpoints share the spotlight to make this a genuinely inclusive event.”
Great Bend sculptor Chet Cale President of the Barton County Arts Council, described his enthusiasm for the upcoming exhibit.
“The Shafer Gallery is very good at supporting local artists and this is one of those ways,” he said. “We have a huge amount of fine, fine artists in our community countywide.”
One of the pieces Cale will have on display at the exhibit is “Christ on the Cross”. The piece holds significant value to Cale not just from the imagery but the source of the limestone used to create the sculpture.
“The stone was a salvaged piece of Hoisington High School after the 2001 tornado. I think there is a real parallel,” he said. “We have this imagery of just before the resurrection and we have this stone that would have just ended up in somebody’s creek or buried in the ground someplace was able to be brought back and used for one of the most historically dramatic images.”
Featured Artist: Kathleen Kuchar
Kathleen Kuchar grew up on a farm in northeast Nebraska. From a young age, she was fascinated by art and was supported in chasing her passion by both of her parents and her teacher. Kuchar attended Kearney State College in Nebraska (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) and received her bachelor degree in art.
After graduating, she started an art program at a high school in Minden Nebraska and taught there for two years before attending Fort Hays State University (FHSU) for her masters in art. Kuchar then went to the Brooklyn Museum in New York for one year of studies before FHSU asked her to be an art professor in 1967, where she taught for 34 years before retiring in 2001.
Until 1991 Kuchar’s artwork was mostly created with acrylic paint. It wasn’t until she attended the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy for one summer where she discovered her love for watercolor monotype. Monotype is a form of printmaking where only one print is made making each creation unique and one of a kind.
Her work is very youthful and abstract as she, like many artists, reaches into her past to bring out something beautiful.
“My work itself is based off of a lot of imagination, dreams and memories,” she said. “Sometimes I like to make a statement so I’ll have some symbolism like an empty chair. I don’t want it to be too cut and dry so people say ‘oh that is what it means period’, I want people to interact and come up with their own interpretation; that is what I am really after.”