Lawrence Magazine | Summer 2022

Page 1

$7 / / summer 2022

The Barnes Family Tree

Lives & Personal Histories Deeply Connected to the City— from One Generation to Another

Adam M. Goodyear, MD

James C. Huston, MD

Richard G. Wendt, MD

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EDITOR Nathan Pettengill DESIGNER / ART DIRECTOR Shelly Bryant ADVERTISING Joanne Morgan 785.832.7264 AD DESIGNER Alex Tatro COPY EDITOR Leslie Andres CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shirley Braunlich DeBarre Johnson Lauren Fox Amber Fraley Nick Spacek Darin M. White CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Fally Afani Jason Dailey Carter Gaskins Brian Goodman CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Torren Thomas PUBLISHER Bill Uhler DIRECTOR Bob Cucciniello

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022


hello there Welcome to the summer 2022 edition of Lawrence Magazine! One of our feature stories in this issue celebrates the Lawrence Art Guild’s 60th anniversary. We’re grateful to representatives of the guild who took their time to talk with Darin M. White about their work and to come into Brian Goodman’s studio for their portraits. The photograph above is a painting from one artist who is no longer with us, Lawrence Art Guild founder Joyce Schild. A college art instructor, Schild came to Lawrence in the early 1950s, moving with her husband into Sunnyside, the military barracks south of the University of Kansas campus that—drafts, bugs and all—filled in as residences for many students and faculty families during the postwar housing shortage. Speaking in 2004 in remarks documented by Laurie Culling and Jen Unekis, Schild recalled how she almost immediately formed art circles, aligning with names that many longtime Lawrencians might recognize: Marilyn Braught, Lorita Pendleton, Bev Frazier, Leanne Gunter, Jennie Mezure, Jane Dyche, Margaret Estes, Adele Foley, Nancy Hambleton, Jean Allen, Helen Garrett and others. Schild described this group as “house wives, but we are also ex-this and ex-that”—an extremely capable group of professionals who got things done. They quickly held weekly gatherings to paint together, and, within a decade, they went from “nothing, absolutely nothing” to forming the Lawrence Art Guild and holding the city’s first public Art Festival in partnership with the city Parks and Recreation Department. That show attracted some 1,800 visitors (which would be about 7,500 people in terms of Lawrence’s current population) and would eventually lead to the annual Art in the Park program. Now, when we look at any weekend in Lawrence, we see an overlap of several events, group gatherings, activities and more. All of these happenings and traditions began somewhere, with someone, and were kept alive through the efforts and dedication of a new generation of volunteers and organizers. It’s a reminder that what we enjoy about the city comes from the work and vision of people, often beginning in small groups, who look to the future and ask “What if?” The question of “what if” applies to other stories in this issue: a genetic anthropologist asks what more could be learned if the scientific community took a more respectful approach to artifacts and interactions; a Lawrence poet asks what if young Lawrencians in the 1960s had stopped to realize the injustice of everyday racism; and young families across the city represent a question for all of us—what if we want the very youngest among us to grow up and learn that we did, indeed, do everything we could to protect them. Here’s to more what-ifs this summer and in the months to come. Sixty years from now, may they have led to achievements as significant as Joyce Schild’s legacy of a flourishing community of artists.

Nathan Pettengill, editor

ABOVE Detail of an untitled painting by Joyce Schild.

$7 / / summer 2022

The Barnes Family Tree

Lives & Personal Histories Deeply Connected to the City— from One Generation to Another

On the cover

Barry Barnes stands in front of a shelf of family portraits in the home of his father, James Barnes. Photograph by Jason Dailey.

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022

what’s inside smorgasbord

6 ‘What’s That?’

A nonprofit academy and music-trivia teams prepare for a big summer


Still ‘Stirring Up Trouble’ features

Sara Paretsky’s famed detective dives deep into the Chicago landscape for her latest thriller

The Very Little and the Very Last

14 You Have to Try This

For Lawrence families with children under 5, life remains in a pandemic limbo until vaccinations are finally approved for the youngest age groups

60 Years of Art

A diamond in the community’s cultural scene, Lawrence Art Guild celebrates 60 years of local artists supporting one another



One great dish from Lawrence diners and restaurants


Lawrencium: Dog Park Pollinators The science of distilling one Lawrence theme into essential information ... people


‘A Love Letter to My Discipline’

In a new best seller, an anthropological geneticist at the University of Kansas advances an ethical approach for researching the ancient history of North American settlement

27 The Barnes Family

A family historian traces the history of many Black families in Lawrence as his own family shapes the city their ancestors chose





lawrence magazine / summer 2022

‘WHAT’S THAT?’ A nonprofit academy and music-trivia teams prepare for a big summer Story by Nick Spacek NVSBL Music Trivia Music fans regularly gather in front of the stage at Lucia Beer Garden & Grill in downtown Lawrence, but on the third Thursday of each month, the fans are cheering and clapping not for anyone on stage, but for themselves as part of the Invisible (spelled “NVSBL”) Music Trivia competition. NVSBL is the brainchild of Jon Harrison, currently the frontman and guitarist of the Harrisonics, who picked up music trivia in Kansas City. “It started with Robert Moore’s Sonic Spectrum music trivia, which he did for years and years and years at the RecordBar,” Harrison explains one spring evening in front of the Bourgeois Pig. “And then when he quit doing that, a bunch of us picked up the game that is now at Bier Station. For years, I went over to Kansas City every Monday and played trivia.” By 2017, Harrison had grown tired of driving back and forth and decided to bring his own event to Lawrence. “We started it at Frank’s and it was magical,” he says. The event briefly moved to Free State Brewing Company after Frank’s closed in May of 2019, and then to Lucia, whose event venue license allowed the competition to play longer musical samples without violating any performance license. Other things have changed as well, with the addition of visual categories, including album covers and music videos, but the main thing is making the game fun, Harrison says. He and

Photography by Fally Afani Lindsay Deiter, his partner and frequent co-host, try to line up a mix of challenging and fun questions. “I don’t want anyone leaving the game going, ‘We were the worst,’” Harrison says. “But on the other hand, I think there should be some glory involved.” He also brings in musical guest host such as Tamyra Heim of the Shebangs. “The biggest reason I do –Jon Harrison that is to keep it from being a referendum on my musical taste,” Harrison continues. “It’s not like we have a power pop category every week or I’m having a New Zealand band category all the time.” To that end, you might get a category like “Bro Country,” where even the least snobbish music fan is likely to know at least one song by Florida Georgia Line, alongside a category such as “Shoes,” where you’re made to name an album simply from the shoes featured on its cover. It allows for all levels, and that’s what keeps folks coming back, month after month, and crafting relationships with their teammates and the other attendees. “It really is a wonderful little community that I’m really, really grateful for,” Harrison says.

“It really is a wonderful little community that I’m really, really grateful for.”

OPPOSITE Jon Harrison has questions—and you can win prizes answering them at the NVSBL Music Trivia competitions.



lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Americana Music Academy Marks 20 Years This year, the Americana Music Academy (AMA) celebrates 20 years as a Lawrence institution. Founded in 2001 by Thom Alexander and located in a converted old house just south of Massachusetts and 14th streets, the nonprofit still holds true to its founding mission “as a gathering place for musicians, artists, teachers and learners committed to American roots music.” However, executive director Max Paley says he still has to introduce the group around Lawrence. “I tell people I work at Americana Music Academy, and they say, ‘What’s that? Never heard of it,’” Paley explains with some amazement. “Then I tell people … and they’re like, ‘Wow. I had no idea.’” So, Paley says part of his mission for the anniversary year is to make a big push so the city knows three things about Americana: “A) We exist. B) We survived the pandemic, so we’re still here, despite all the odds, and C) We’re going to start doing more for the community and try to offer more things.” Some of those new things include an AMA-sponsored weekly open mic at the Replay Lounge in downtown Lawrence every Wednesday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. “Working with the folks at the Replay Lounge has been a huge boon for us,” Paley explains, adding that the event also allows him to get money into performers’ pockets by hiring a Lawrence musician to host each week. Additionally, the Academy continues to host jam sessions, workshops and concerts and has made all of its 2022 concerts free. “We’ve been able to do it so far, thanks to some donors,” Paley says.

ABOVE Max Paley is breaking out the maracas (and several special events) to celebrate the Americana Music Academy’s 20th anniversary.





This summer, AMA will also become a primary sponsor of the 41st annual Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships held in South Park and will take over managing the event, hosting the event, finding the talent and recruiting volunteers. Paley says the new focus on performance events is part of the Academy’s mission to support musicians at all stages in their education or career. “I’m focused on providing this holistic education for the students who want it,” Paley says. “Not all of our students are interested in learning about the industry, [but we can tell those who are], ‘Okay, now you know how to play, know how to sing … how do you make money doing it? How do you build your career and build your brand?’ Having access and having these partnerships will just give more opportunities to our students.” And those results are already showing up after the first weekly open mics. “One of our students’ dad drove up from Williamsburg, an hour away, so that his son could perform,” Paley says. “That’s part of what I’m trying to teach—if you want to make money as a musician, these are the ways that you can make it happen. Getting out and performing is a great way to do it. If you are 14 years old, you’re not going to get hired at the Jazzhaus or at the Bottleneck unless you can say, “I’ve played X number of shows and had Y number of people come to see them.’ So, going to the Replay for open mic? That’s how you start building your community and building your fan base.”









lawrence magazine / summer 2022


‘STIRRING UP TROUBLE’ Sara Paretsky’s famed detective dives deep into the Chicago landscape for her latest thriller Story by Shirley Braunlich


awrence is fortunate to claim award-winning writer Sara Paretsky as a local writer. Paretsky grew up around Lawrence, has written about the area, and maintains strong ties to the region. But the famed multiple award-winning writer is best known for her gripping mystery series featuring the bold female private detective V.I. “Vic” Warshawski and the neighborhoods of Chicago, where she has made her home for decades. Paretsky’s latest release, Overboard (William Morrow, 2022), is the 21st volume of the Warshawski series and offers an accessible, exciting storyline even for those who have never read any of the previous books. Overboard places Warshawski in pandemic-era Chicago and amid a suspenseful, fast-paced and complex storyline that touches on anti-Semitism, police brutality, shady landdevelopers, elder abuse, and the fragility of digital privacy—all through the experience of a working-class family. “My runaway teen [character] lives with her grandmother,” Paretsky says, explaining the outline of the story. “The grandmother has a house on land that some big land developers are coveting, and much of the plot revolves around their efforts to get this land by fair means or foul, mostly foul.” Warshawski steps into the narrative by not hesitating to help those in need, putting herself in danger and drawing on the support of longtime friends such as Dr. Charlotte “Lottie” Herschel and her elderly neighbor, Mr. Contreras. But perhaps one of the biggest supporting characters is the city itself, particularly the Chicago River, Goose Island, the underbelly of a bridge with a rolling craps game, and Chicago’s South Side. Paretsky credits the city’s landscape as helping her to develop the premise and plot. “As I was working on the book, my dog needed surgery. I was walking the streets around the clinic—Covid meant I couldn’t [wait] inside—and I came to the Chicago River. I saw the river up-close in a way that I never had in my 50-plus years in the city, and it changed the way I shaped the story,” Paretsky explains. “The island in the middle of the Chicago River has a large empty space on it that used to be a printing plant, and when I saw that, I had the grandmother’s property, which allowed me to pull many of the book’s pieces together.” The book’s title, Paretsky adds, is an allusion not only to a key scene where Warshawski and another character topple into the fetid river waters but also to the abuse of “powerful developers going overboard in their gaining access to a house on the Chicago River.” Power and its abuse are universal themes in detective novels and very much a part of the Warshawski novels, particularly

Illustration by Torren Thomas when framed within the context of class, race and religion. These are themes that Paretsky and her family encountered coming into Lawrence in the early 1950s. According to stories told by her family, a real estate agent initially told the family that Blacks and Jews could purchase homes only in North Lawrence, but because the Paretskys might pass as white, they could consider properties on the south side of the river. Instead, her parents—her father a microbiologist at University of Kansas and her mother a children’s librarian at the Lawrence Public Library—chose a home in the country, and young Sara Paretsky claimed her parents’ work spaces and her school as her own havens. “Lawrence for me means the public library, which used to be in the Carnegie building at 9th and Vermont,” Paretsky writes. “The children’s room was in the basement, which made for a cozy reading place. I also spent a lot of time in my dad’s lab in old Snow Hall, where my fondest memory is his graduate student making chocolate cake for my brothers and me. When we lived in the country, I got to play baseball for my two-room school, Kaw Valley District 95. That was the peak of my athletic career.” Enrolling as a student at KU, Paretsky earned a bachelor’s degree in political science before moving to Chicago and graduating from the University of Chicago with a master’s and PhD. Her adopted hometown became the scene for her first Warshawski novel, Indemnity Only, in 1982. The debut received overwhelmingly positive reviews and launched a career and series of books that would earn Paretsky the Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and two lifetime achievement awards: the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the Anthony Award from the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. In 1986, Paretsky co-founded Sisters in Crime (SinC), an organization to advocate for female mystery writers, which has since expanded its mission to support community authors of any gender identity and in any genre. Sisters in Crime honors emerging writers of color with the Eleanor Taylor Bland Award and provides the Pride Award for emerging LGBTQ authors. In 2015, KU recognized Paretsky with an honorary doctor of letters, “for notable contributions to the mystery writing field and American Literature,” and Paretsky delivered the commencement address. “It was wonderful to march across the field with Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and the band!” recalls the author, whose work has evolved and entertained for the past four decades. Like her creator, Warshawski has changed over the years as well—though perhaps more reluctantly on some fronts.

OPPOSITE Through the years, author Sara Paretsky has focused much of her storytelling on the adventures of private detective V.I. Warshawki. Torren Thomas’ illustration is based on a portrait of Paretsky at the beginning of her writing career.


lawrence magazine / summer 2022

“V.I. held out for a long time against a desktop machine and especially against Word,” Paretsky explains, adding that her detective continued typing away on an old Olivetti long after other fictional detectives were hacking their way to cyber-clues. And that, perhaps, is some of Warshawski’s enduring appeal—like Paretsky, the fictional detective is acutely aware of the power structures, groups, and individuals that shape the world around them. She’s a detective who knows her people and her city—or, as Paretsky explains, “V.I. still prefers to cruise the streets stirring up trouble.”

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Other Heroes V.I. Warshawski is often cited as a feminist icon, but her creator’s personal fictional heroes include Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Margery Allingham’s Amanda Fitton, and Amanda Cross’ (Carolyn Gold Heilbrun’s) Kate Fansler. Bernie’s Back? Fans of hot-headed Bernie Fouchard, Warshawski’s goddaughter, who has played a role in the last three novels, might see her return in Paretsky’s upcoming novels. “I do think about this,” Paretsky writes. “[She] might join the practice when she graduates from Northwestern.” What She’s Reading When we corresponded for this interview, Paretsky was rereading two very different favorite authors in the thriller world: Lia Matera and Margery Allingham. “I’m also almost finished with the Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. It’s a brilliant, beautiful novel,” she wrote.

SHORT TAKES EASY BEAUTY: A MEMOIR CHLOÉ COOPER JONES AVID READER PRESS/SIMON & SCHUSTER, 2022 Tonganoxie native and Lawrence High School grad releases her candid travelogue connecting relationships, philosophy, art, aesthetics, and disability.

THE HATAK WITCHES DEVON A. MIHESUAH UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA PRESS, 2021 The University of Kansas professor and enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation releases the first in her anticipated series of supernatural mysteries featuring Choctaw protagonist detective Monique Blue Hawk. THE KING WILL KILL YOU SARAH HENNING TOR, 2022 Lawrence author finishes her YA feminist fantasy adventure trilogy culminating in an epic confrontation between newly crowned Queen Amarande and a despotic king.

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022









lawrence magazine / summer 2022

YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS! One great dish from Lawrence restaurants and diners—in this issue, it’s a nonalcoholic summer drink extravaganza Story by DeBarre Johnson


Photography by Carter Gaskins

n the great tradition of other Lawrence culinary legends such as Basil Leaf Café and The Fresh Mediterranean Co, Paleteria Chihuahua has opened up in a gas station complex, the BP station near the busy corner of Iowa and 31st streets. It has a no-frills, humble, mom-’n’-pop–type feel, and its kitchen has earned a loyal following for its authentic Mexican lunch specials. But we’re here to talk about the drinks, which are amazing, perfect summer creations. The traditional fresas con crema (strawberries and cream) drink is a



lawrence magazine / summer 2022





delight with generous berries and a rich, vanilla cream. Similar to a milkshake, but not entirely so, it will probably be recognized by many Lawrencians as a familiar, comforting yet somewhat novel summer taste sensation. For all-fruit options, go with the Mangonada Grande, whose mango and chili provide the combo you might not know you needed, or try a fruit mix variety, such as the watermelonloaded version for a lighter, sweeter treat decked with candies on top. But the diva of your Instagram feed will be the Piña Loca. The drink begins with a cored pineapple, whose meat is removed, chopped into smaller chunks and placed back in the shell with generous slices of mango and cucumber which are topped with sour candies, gummy bears, as well as tamarind bites and sticks and the obligatory paper umbrella straw for instant vacation vibes. If you wish, the drink can be doused with a generous amount of chamoy, a Mexican sweetand-sour sauce traditionally based on a dried fruit such as apricot or mango. That sauce, along with the tamarind bites, heightens the sweet-sour, salty-sugary contrasts at play. “This drink is about the combination of the different tastes, as well as the presentation, how it looks,” explains Ramon Govea Casarez, who manages and owns the café with business partner Arturo Fernandez. Govea Casarez says the drink, known in Mexico as a piña loca or piña preparada, is a common beach treat with a few variations on the fruits and toppings. “These are the same fruits and candies I would use in Mexico,” Govea Casarez says. “The difference is on the beach you would usually pour in tequila.” Paleteria doesn’t have a liquor license, so it skips the tequila when it serves the drink, but customers can add freshly mixed or bottled fruit drinks sold on site. The staff will also pack up the Piña Loca as a to-go order, and customers can add tequila, beer or whatever meets their taste at home. The Mangonada and mixed fruit cups run $10–$13 while the Piña Loca costs $14. Given its size, you won’t begrudge sharing it with a friend.

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022


LAWRENCIUM The science of distilling one Lawrence theme into essential information ... Compiled by Amber Fraley


Pounds of seeds 2001 planted

Year the Mutt Run Dog Park was founded

Total acres of Mutt Run Dog Park


INFO COURTESY Michael Houts and Jennifer Delisle

Number of years it can take to rehabilitate a site


Varieties of native flowering forbs seeds



Number of volunteers who helped with the planting

About 100 Percentage of Douglas County that is still tallgrass prairie

Less than 1% Number of flowering forbs plant plugs planted by volunteers


Number of times the site was burned as part of the restoration


Number of times the site was mowed as part of the restoration


Number of project partners involved in the restoration

Percentage of Douglas County that was once tallgrass prairie

7 90%

Varieties of native grass seeds


This issue’s theme

Number of caterpillars a pair of North American chickadees needs to feed a single brood

6,000 to 9,000

Dog Park Pollinators

PROJECT PARTNERS Douglas County Board of County Commissioners, the Douglas County Natural Cultural Heritage Program, the City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, Monarch Watch, Native Lands, LLC, Jayhawk Audubon Society and the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research.

habitat improvement project underway at the Mutt Run Off-Leash Dog Park located below the Clinton Lake Dam will transform brome hay fields into meadows of native flowers and grasses. The project is the brainchild of Michael Houts, who has worked for 20 years at the Kansas Biological Survey. “I spend a lot of time out at the dog park with my dog, and there’s a big brome field out there, and I thought we could do better than just grass pasture,” Houts says. With funding from the Douglas County Natural Cultural Heritage Program, and working with several community groups, Houts coordinated a group of volunteers to begin planting native grasses and forbs ( flowering, non-woody plants such as sunflowers) that should grow without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Houts says the change should be visible in the next two to three years. Houts has his eye on a few other spots around town that could also benefit from native plant and grass restoration. “This could be the first of several sites around town that are planted back to a more native landscape,” he says.

Number of acres of Mutt Run Dog Park to undergo habitat restoration


Varieties of forbs plant plugs






‘A LOVE LETTER TO MY DISCIPLINE’ In a new best seller, an anthropological geneticist at the University of Kansas advances an ethical approach for researching the ancient history of North American settlement

Story by Amber Fraley Photography by Brian Goodman

lawrence magazine / summer 2022



rom her laboratory in Fraser Hall, Dr. Jennifer Raff has brought science-based insights into some of the largest and longest-standing questions about the first appearance of human communities in North America. This year, the geneticist and anthropologist with the University of Kansas has summarized her findings in Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas. Raff begins her New York Times best seller with a detailed history of the genetic and anthropological research about the settlement of North America and how flawed, often racist, assumptions led scientists to make incorrect, harmful conclusions about Indigenous nations and people in North America. The book goes on to describe how Raff and other researchers are working to forge—and attempting to repair— relationships between non-Native scientists and Native peoples. It’s an accessible, enjoyable read about recent discoveries in genetic history, as well as the evolving cooperative relationship between Indigenous communities and non-Native scientists. A research-lab childhood Raff ’s family is originally from Carbondale, but they moved to Springfield, Missouri, when she was young. Here, her father—an engineer with a master’s degree in geology—would take Raff and her sister to explore the region’s caves and teach them how to interact with a site. “We learned the correct way—or the respectful way—for entering and leaving a cave, how to behave while one is in a cave, and how to take care of it, and the ecosystems, and the animals there,” Raff says. Later, the family moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where Raff ’s mother would return to school to earn her PhD, often bringing Raff along with her. “I essentially grew up on college campuses,” Raff says. “I would follow her to the lab and very often either spend time in the lab or in university libraries, just kind of hanging around, reading, getting to know biology. There was really one path I wanted to pursue, which was to become a professor, have my own research lab and learn new things about the world. I just couldn’t decide whether I wanted to do archaeology or biology.” The movie Jurassic Park, which Raff saw as a senior in high school, would offer both an unrealistic presentation of a geneticist as well as a more realistic insight that it might be possible to combine both the study of the past with the new field of genetics. “So as an undergraduate at Indiana University, I majored in both biology and anthropology and kind of drifted towards biological anthropology, which is closely related to archaeology, but studies humans,” she explains. Just as Raff was finishing her undergrad degree, IU hired Frederika Kaestle, a leading researcher on ancient DNA. Kaestle received a brand-new lab, where Raff stayed on to do her work for graduate school. Raff says throughout her academic career, she’s been taught by “incredible” mentors. “They’ve all modeled respectful research and how important it is when we’re doing this work as notIndigenous scientists to listen to those communities to do the work in a way that respects their beliefs and their feelings about OPPOSITE Dr. Jennifer Raff leads a research laboratory in Fraser Hall at the University of Kansas. Her work in the laboratory formed much of the basis for her book, Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas.

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the sacredness of these remains,” Raff explains. “That really made an impact on me, and it’s something I try to convey to my students, and hopefully was able to get across in the book.” The problematic history of cultural genetics in North America Dr. Kim Tallbear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), professor of Native studies at the University of Alberta, and Canada research chair in Indigenous Peoples, technoscience, and society, says this push for change in the study of Indigenous Peoples has been a long time in coming. “Most of the progress, I think, is that Indigenous communities have pushed for so hard for the last three decades,” she says. “They have demanded better treatment, and some scientists have stepped up, and some haven’t.” Tallbear explains much of the conflict is caused because Eurocentric cultures’ views on life and death differ so drastically from Native cultures’ views. “In English and in Western culture, life is organismally defined … but that’s just not the case of a lot of Indigenous worldviews, because life is defined more in terms of the way all beings, and all things, in the universe are related. Even if something isn’t an organism—say it’s a stone or fire—it’s part of the life cycle.” She says that while many Western thinkers would consider this concept wholly spiritual, Indigenous Peoples simply don’t see it that way. “We are literally related to the stars,” Tallbear says. “Life on earth was seeded by what came from space. So, when Indigenous people say those things, they are speaking materially and truthfully; they are not only speaking spiritually.” Tallbear credits Raff as being an ally scientist—a non-Native who understands and works within the parameters of the belief of most Native people that the blood and bones of ancestors should be treated with the same respect as a living person, used only with permission, and then returned, if applicable. Gradually, this field of research is being shaped by a more respectful approach among non-Native scientists as well as by Natives within the profession. Raff says she’s seen an increase in the number of Native scientists and Native young people entering the profession, as well as a concerted outreach to Native communities in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia for programs like summer internships. “There’s another organization which I’m a huge fan of called the Native Bio Data Consortium, which is an effort by Indigenous scientists to have their own biobanks, their own large-scale research projects, and to advocate for the kinds of research and data sovereignty they’d like to do.” But the relationship between scientists and Native communities continues to be shaped against the background of centuries of conflict, cultural oppression, and a series of “scientific” experimentations beginning in the 1920s on Native communities without their consent. Unsurprisingly, many within Native communities are skeptical of the non-Native scientific community’s ability and authority to probe and represent ancient Native history. When asked by Lawrence Magazine if genetic research on Native Peoples can be done in such a way that it doesn’t undermine Native American cultural identities and sovereignty, identities and soverignty, prominent Native geneticist Rene Begay (Dine/Navajo) responded with a mixed “maybe” and an outline for her hopes of how the field could evolve in the future.

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


The questions and emerging insights behind Origin At the core of Jennifer Raff’s Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas is the methodology and answers that genetic research can provide to the question of “Where did North American Native communities originate?” Raff and other geneticists’ work in the lab reveals two major antecedents of modern Native North American peoples: ancestral East Asians and Ancient Northern Siberians. Of course, those populations have their own antecedents and complex migration patterns scientists are still working to untangle. Raff equates it to trying to reconstruct someone’s life from their Instagram account. It’s not inaccurate, but it is incomplete. Generally, scientists now think a small group of people from East Asia began to migrate toward the Americas about 36,000 years ago. This group continued to share gene flow with East Asia for about 10,000 years, but by 25,000 years ago, the gene mixing stopped completely and the group split into two. One group stayed largely in place and is known as the ancient Paleo-Siberians. The other group moved on to become part of the Americas. Then, there’s evidence to show that 24,000 years ago, the ancient Paleo-Siberians and ancient Native Americans began mixing with another group entirely—the Ancient Northern Siberians. As the climate cooled at the Last Glacial Maximum, people moved out of Siberia completely, with no evidence of people living there from about 20,000 to 15,000 years ago. Some of those people seeking a warmer climate settled in what modern people often think of as the Bering Land Bridge— the so-called bridge of land that appeared during that last ice age where early peoples crossed into the Americas—but Raff says this area should be thought of not as a bridge, but a lost continent, which scientists now refer to as Beringia. Rather than a crossing point, Beringia was a home to people for many generations. Beringians would differentiate into southern and northern populations, with some becoming adept at coastal living and others becoming adept at killing large land animals like mammoths. As Beringia was reclaimed by the sea, some Beringians would move on to become ancestral Native Americans, while some moved back into Russia. Unfortunately, the archeological remains of Beringia are now underwater. Raff knows the science in her field will have advanced even as people are reading her book. New evidence will provide new insights into the ancient peoples who moved across the globe slowly, with groups intermixing and separating over thousands of years. Genetic work such as Raff’s can even show how some populations may have separated for tens of thousands of years before mixing again. Pinpointing exactly when and where all those genetic groups intersect—or perhaps even identifying previously unknown populations of DNA in Native Peoples—continues to be the focus of Raff’s ongoing work.





“Genetic research is a basic science that has consistently sought to discredit Native American identity and seeks to further undermine Indigenous knowledge about DNA and what it should and should not be used for. Since many researchers in this topic area of genetics are non-Indigenous, tribal sovereignty will continue to hang in the balance. Non-Indigenous genetic researchers constantly say that it is important for Indigenous people to engage in genomics in order to benefit from the healthcare advancements; however, it is important for these researchers to note that they have an obligation to Indigenous Nations to work with and for Indigenous people to improve their health. Not to use Indigenous people for their personal or professional gain or even to just satisfy their curiosity about who are Native Americans at the molecular level,” writes Begay, a researcher and public health scientist at the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “In my opinion, the type of genetic research that will not undermine Native American cultural identities and sovereignty is having a member of the Indigenous community be the scientist leading the team who knows the genetics from a cultural and Western education perspective. The work needs to come from inside the community and may ask for support from outsiders who wish to support the Indigenous community as an ally.”

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


The overlap of ancient and modern lives One interesting behind-the-scenes fact about Origin is that it is a book focused on an epic timescale and multiple cultures and communities that was written by one scholar facing very contemporary challenges. Raff says writing the book took about four years from start to finish. “That was compounded by the pandemic and compounded by the fact I had just had a child,” she says. She also says the success of the book has surprised her. “I mean, if I’m being honest, it still feels like it’s something happening to somebody else, which is strange,” she laughs. Of course, Raff is first to say she didn’t do the work alone. She credits her colleagues at KU, as well as other archaeologists and geneticists across the country, for looking over various drafts of the book and making corrections. She also worked closely with Native American editors. Raff says she wrote Origin both because she thinks it’s important for scientists to make their knowledge accessible to the masses and as “a love letter to my discipline. I want to see us do better. I think we can do better. I do believe that we can do this work in a way that is ethical, respectful, that involves accepting when people say no, but being courageous enough to go to tribes and talk to them.”

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022


On one given Sunday, the Barnes Family Sunday Gathering included (standing on porch, from left): Melvin Ray, Ursula Minor, Sara Minor, Barry Barnes, Travis Ray, James Barnes, Susan Ray, Lisa Barnes, James Minor and Tyler Minor. Also at the gathering are (seated, from left): CJ Ray, Chevas Ray, Carmela Humphrey, Wyatt the dog, Marla Ray and Laramie Barnes.

A family historian traces the history of many Black families in Lawrence as his own family shapes the city their ancestors chose Story by Amber Fraley


ames Barnes has dedicated countless hours to tracing the history of his family, as well as of other Black families in Lawrence. “I started before I even had a computer, and I used to drive back and forth to the Kansas State Historical Society,” Barnes says. “I have found almost a thousand Black people that lived in North Lawrence. I love to do genealogy research.” Genealogists of Black American history such as Barnes are familiar with the difficulty of documenting family history in a

Photography by Jason Dailey nation where over 200 years of slavery deprived generations of their rights, privileges, relationships and the legal documents affirming them. Oftentimes, the records for these family histories began to appear only after Emancipation in 1863. Celebrated each year as Juneteenth and marking the beginning of the formal abolition of slavery in the United States, this watershed moment also opened the path for issuing of legal documents and records for the formerly enslaved, documents that would allow family historians such as James to record,



lawrence magazine / summer 2022





honor and pass on names, dates and events important to his family’s heritage. Lawrence roots A lifetime Lawrence resident, Barnes doesn’t know precisely why his father’s side of the family decided to settle in Topeka or whether they left a past of freedom or slavery behind them. What he has been able to establish is that his grandfather Robert Barnes arrived in Topeka from Kentucky around 1900. He also has been able to trace his grandmother Pearl Slaughter’s parents, William and Ellen, who arrived in Topeka sometime around 1865, a journey he believes began after they learned about the Emancipation Proclamation while on a plantation in 1863. Incredibly, Ellen Slaughter would live to be 100 years old. Robert and Pearl met in Topeka, married, and eventually separated. Pearl and her son, Jessie Barnes (James’ father) moved to Lawrence in 1915. There, Jessie would meet Barnes’ mother, who arrived from Mississippi in 1933. A year later, Barnes was born. He grew up in North Lawrence and easily recalls the neighborhoods of his youth. “Most of the people that lived over there had very large gardens,” Barnes says, explaining that his family’s house sat on two acres. “People raised livestock back in those days. We had chickens and hogs. My parents had two horses at the time. Back then you could do that in the city limits.”

Barry Barnes, Laramie Barnes and Lisa Barnes take a goup photo at a regular Sunday Barnes family gathering.

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During Barnes’ childhood, North Lawrence had two Black churches, Saint James AME at 7th and Maple streets, which he and his family attended, as well a Black Baptist church. The churches were a focal point of community life in a city that did not embrace the Black community. “Back then there wasn’t that much for Black people to do,” Barnes says. As a boy, he recalls that Black folks could attend the movies in town, but they had to sit in the balcony, and Blacks couldn’t eat in the white-owned restaurants. “You had to get your food and go eat out back in the alley, and you couldn’t swim in the pool at all.” But there were Black-owned establishments, like Nelson Greeen’s Green Gables café in East Lawrence, where they could gather and listen to live music. Barnes recalls that most Black Lawrencians at that time lived near one another in East or North Lawrence. Barnes attended Lincoln Elementary School—now the Ballard Center—which was a segregated school for Black kids, while white kids in North Lawrence attended Woodlawn. (These schools would fully integrate only in 1955.) For junior high school, Barnes went across the bridge to the integrated Central School at Ninth and Kentucky streets, his first experience going to school with white kids, some of whom he knew from his neighborhood. During his freshman year of high school, Barnes played on the Black basketball team at LHS, known as the Promoters, and

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


James Barnes’ kitchen hosts regular Sunday gatherings of family members, including (from left): Ursula Minor, Sara Minor, and Tyler Minor.

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022




kids moved to Riverside School, where they were some of the few Black students. Still, they made lots of friends there, some they’re still friends with to this day. The neighborhood where Barnes continues to live has changed dramatically over the years. When Barry and Ursula were kids, the lots were larger and most of their extended family on their mom’s side—great-grandmother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins—all lived on the same block on Wisconsin and Michigan Streets, with connected yards. Barry recalls that their uncle Waldo “Bud” Monroe owned A changing community Bud’s Barber Shop at 532 Michigan Street, a celebrated institution For the most part, Lawrence remained an unofficially segregated and anchor of Lawrence’s Black community. community until the 1960s. Barnes says his family relied on “My uncle died with probably the most well-known barber their work and one another to provide for their family. His wife, shop in town,” Barry says, explaining that in the 1950s through Jane, who died in 2013, spent her working years at Kappa Kappa the 1970s, most of the Black athletes who attended the University Gamma sorority at the University of Kansas, a job she got because of Kansas, including Wilt her mother, Alice Frye, had also Chamberlain, went to Bud’s to get worked there. their hair cut and to socialize. Barnes was able to land his During these years, the first job working on the railroad entire family was close—literally through family connections. and figuratively, and the Barnes “My stepfather was a section kids loved being able to play with hand on the Union Pacific their cousins or walk down the railroad. If you had a relative that block to visit their Great-greatworked on the railroad, you had a grandmother Monroe. good chance getting a job there,” “We’d have big fish fries over he says. After working at Union there and gigantic Easter egg Pacific and then as a maintenance hunts,” Ursula recalls. man with Lawrence schools, Other new traditions also Barnes would have a 30-year took advantage of the nearby career with DuPont in Topeka. extended family. Outside of his work, Barnes “We didn’t celebrate has been a member of the Christmas traditionally,” Lawrence chapter of the NAACP Ursula says. “We had this thing since the 1960s, when the focus called house to house.” In this was building a pool for Lawrence’s celebration, each household Black kids. He joined the Lawrence made specialty dishes ahead of chapter of Black Masons—the time, and on Christmas morning, oldest in Kansas—in 1974 and the entire family met at Ursula’s is still a member. “We’ve been grandmother’s home to eat, drink meeting here in Lawrence well over and celebrate before moving on a hundred years,” he says. In recent to the next house to sample the years, Black Masons and white goodies there. By the end of the Masons of Lawrence have begun –James Barnes day, everyone was well fed and holding joint meetings for common tired, and the adults would play cards. “It was the best thing ever,” Masonic business. Ursula says. The tradition continued until the 2010s. For Barnes’ children, the next generation, Lawrence was Even now, the entire Barnes family gets together at different, but still held some of the same prejudices and challenges. Grandfather James’ house every Sunday. “Sometimes we’re all Two of his children, Barry Barnes and Ursula Minor, there, and sometimes there’s some of us there, but there’s always remember when they weren’t allowed to swim in the pool located somebody there,” Ursula says. across the street from their house on Michigan Street. Sometimes, their white classmates would wave and say hi on their way to the Continued legacies pool as the Barnes kids sat on their front porch. Like her father, Ursula has been an important figure in the “I remember that distinctly, but I don’t even know if they local NAACP. She joined in 1979, when the organization was even realized or their parents never told them,” Ursula says. encouraging voter registration, and has served as secretary When their house was placed into a new school boundary and vice president and now president for at least a decade. away from their neighborhood school, Pinckney, the Barnes the following year, in 1950, the basketball team was integrated. James was drafted into the Army for the Korean War in 1954 and discharged in 1956. That same year, he married Jane Frye, also of Lawrence, and they moved across the river, where they began a family of their own. “We have seven children,” Barnes says. They are Marla Ray, Calvin Barnes, Mark Barnes, Ursula Minor, Barry Barnes, Carmela Humphrey and Gayla Barnes.

“I started before I even had a computer, and I used to drive back and forth to the Kansas State Historical Society. I have found almost a thousand Black people that lived in North Lawrence. I love to do genealogy research.”





“I like doing it, but if anybody wants to run against me and win, that’s fine,” she laughs. She says membership, boosted by recent civil rights activism and shootings of Black citizens, is up to about 70 people. These days, the Lawrence NAACP focuses on local police transparency. Ursula is also on the Lawrence Public Library’s Board of Trustees and the LMH Health inclusion, diversity and equity impact advisory group. She has had a fulfilling career at Honeywell International for 45 years. Her brother Barry has worked at Lawrence Hallmark for 26 years. In his spare time, he’s an accomplished musician, percussionist, poet, and for Barry Barnes and Marla Ray share about a decade, a Zumba instructor. smiles at the Barnes Today, Barry is a member of BLACK family gathering. Lawrence (Black Literature & Arts Collective of Kansas, Lawrence). He recalls being introduced to the poetry of Langston Hughes in junior high but says at that age he “didn’t get it.” Now that he’s older, he says he’s returned to the work of this celebrated Black poet with ties to Lawrence and has found new meaning in Hughes’ poetry. If you’ve seen the mural painted by Dave Lowenstein in the breezeway around the corner from Signs

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


of Life bookstore at 722 Mass Street, Barry’s likeness is immortalized there—he’s the man in the cow suit playing a bongo drum, a persona that he used to use in musical performances. Barry frequently performs downtown on summer Friday nights, playing washboard with Tommee Sherwood as Zydeco Tougeau, and he’s performed with the Ernest James Zydeco band for fifteen years in a style they refer to as “Kansas City Zydeco.” Ursula and Barry, like their father, say that Lawrence has presented challenges, ups and downs for its Black community—but it is their community, their family’s community, as it has been for more than 100 years. “I still think Lawrence is a nice place to live, after all these years,” says James. “I think there’s always room for improvement,” Ursula adds. “That’s why I’m very involved in the community because the community is what you make of it. If you’re going to complain, you might as well get involved.” While a few family members have moved away, most, like her kids, have chosen to stay in Lawrence. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says.

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lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Poems by Barry Barnes

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Olympic Memories As a small child The early Sixties Soundtrack to my summer Was the whites-only swimming pool Just across the way from our home Something I would have taken for granted If I were white Like my neighborhood friends And schoolmates When they would parade past our house In swimsuits and towels Wrapped around their necks Like Superman capes Not so long ago Back when America was great Our front porch Most of the summer That is where we hung out and played Ignoring the reality We were not privileged Occasionally as the privileged Were passing by Some would taunt You’re not allowed And that’s a fact If it were reversed Would a White kid Wish they were Black The damage was already done Ironic all those White folks Laying around a pool Intentionally getting darker in the Sun

Great Grandma’s Lap I remember begging Can I please go To Sunday night church All the other kids Had been I felt it was my turn As soon as the preacher Of Ninth Street Baptist Church Began to preach I promptly fell asleep In a crowded pew My head in great grandma Monroe’s lap Can’t feel much safer than that

On the Kaw with Grandmommie Sitting on the Kaw With Grandmommie Hoping for a bite Don’t throw rocks In the water You’ll scare the fish She hollers So we set on a log With lines in the Kaw We share a stick of gum Poor worms in the can Every now and then Grandmommie says Maybe we’ll catch A big one today

Pinckney Playground As I pedal through The old playground If you listen You can almost hear The sound Some names Some faces flash Hey Basket dodge tether baseball I recall You played each game Like it was the Super Bowl For the ultimate prize Bragging Rights 123 not it Tag you’re it Ali ali all in free Echoed in my head As I peddled on down the street

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


very little t h e

and the very last

For Lawrence families with children under 5, life remains in a pandemic limbo until vaccinations are finally approved for the youngest age groups

Story by Lauren Fox

Photography by Jason Dailey


lawrence magazine / summer 2022


“I’m constantly contemplating what we should do, what we shouldn’t do, and then feeling guilty about it.”


ust over one year ago, the arrival of Covid vaccinations brought an immediate sense of relief for tens of thousands in Lawrence. But families with children under 5 were unable to fully share that joy because there was no vaccine available for the youngest among us. For 18 months after the first rollout of shots, these families have had to continue their daily routines under a different set of calculated risks. It’s normal for young children and babies to be the last age group for any vaccine rollout. This is an established scientific protocol to protect the most vulnerable by first gathering data on older age groups, says Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher. But that doesn’t make waiting any easier. Schrimsher notes that with every surge and new variation of the virus, parents of children under 5 have reached out to doctors with valid concerns. “They’re scared that their kid will get sick and seriously ill and potentially die. It’s not like there have not been children that have died of Covid—even young kids. So that risk is still there. It’s a lot lower than it is in, say, older people, but it’s not nonexistent,” Schrimsher adds. “We have this potential way to protect them, but not quite. And it’s hard to watch the rest of society move on [while] there’s this one little chunk that’s still unprotected.” As of May, and after initial setbacks in nationwide testing, vaccines for children under the age of 5 are expected to be available in June, but with at least a two-injection series and a required interval between the shots. As two Lawrence families entered what they hoped to be the last weeks of the pre-vaccination period for their children under 5, they spoke with us about the anxieties, decisions, isolation and strengthened focus on their immediate family that have come with raising children during this dangerous time. Emily and Craig Farley After a first child, parents sometimes feel more prepared to take on a second. But for Emily and Craig Farley, the pandemic complicated that notion. With their first child, Rye, they didn’t worry too much about sickness. “Oh, he just has a cold,” they would think. Or, “he’s teething and that’s why he has a fever.” But once they had to take Covid into account, Emily and Craig had a different perspective of sickness with their second child, Adalyn, who is 2. The threat of the virus places an extra weight on every fever and brings extra guilt with every cough. “If we go to an event and then next thing you know, she has a fever or a cough, I literally sit there and think, ‘Why did we do it?’” Emily says. “I’m constantly contemplating what we should do, what we shouldn’t do, and then feeling guilty about it.” These worries are particularly strong at night if Emily and Craig hear their 2-year-old’s cough from the bedroom across the hall. “You don’t even say anything. You just look at each other like, ‘I hope that’s just one cough. I hope she has something in her throat or she needs some water,’” Emily explains. “And obviously you know we are going to make mistakes in life, but this one is more of a life-and-death situation of a mistake.” The beginning of the pandemic was especially stressful for Craig, who is a paramedic and a firefighter. He regularly would come into contact with positive cases of Covid-19. In the process of saving other people’s lives, he felt like he was putting his own family in danger. “I wasn’t really sure if I should go home,” Craig recalls. “I didn’t want to expose my family to something.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, Emily and Craig have tried to balance reasonable caution with joy. Emily says she is grateful for the

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


additional time with her family, which has allowed her and Craig to be around for more milestones in their children’s lives. Craig says they are committed to participating in activities with their kids when possible and will “do a risk analysis on everything.” Their risk calculation for Rye, who is 5 and vaccinated, is different from that for his sister, and their willingness to get out and about ebbs and flows with the graph of active cases. “When it’s low, we’re getting out there and we’re doing things and we’re going places,” Emily says. “And then, when it spikes back up, we’re not. We’re ordering more takeout and we’re just going to the park around the house. We’re just doing the routine—just getting by.” Danny and Ryan Bowersox First-time parents Danny and Ryan Bowersox anticipated almost every scenario that could happen during pregnancy—except, of course, a pandemic. Ryan gave birth to daughter Maya in July of 2020, just four months after the pandemic upended our lives. The second half of Ryan’s pregnancy was marked by absence: Her mom didn’t get to see her belly. There was no baby shower. The pregnancy class with the doula was virtual. And there was even a time when Ryan didn’t have a doctor’s appointment for ten weeks, an interval Ryan says would have been “unheard of ” in normal conditions. But Ryan and Danny persisted. Finding themselves spending all their time together in their house, they “vibed it out” by avoiding the news, keeping stress levels low and focusing on keeping their minds and bodies healthy. Those months in the first part of parenthood, the couple agreed, were good—a “love cloud,” even. They didn’t feel isolated because everyone else was also confined to their homes. Two years later, however, the couple is now struggling much more with loneliness and anxiety. While the world around them loosens up and restarts life, Ryan and Danny feel left behind. “I think there’s another gear that a lot of people are in that we’re not in yet—because we want to keep Maya safe,” Danny says. “Logically, do I think if she gets it, is she going to be OK? Probably. But you just don’t know.” Because Maya is too young for a vaccine, Ryan and Danny have kept up their precautions. They default to wearing masks, keep their social circle small, and only recently started eating out at restaurants. Just because the school district and the health department changed their guidelines doesn’t mean the couple changed theirs, Ryan says. But Ryan and Danny have to balance their precautions about Maya’s health with their growing concerns about Maya’s social exposure. “Beyond safety, what’s creeping in for us is she’s a toddler now and needs to be entertained more,” Danny notes. “And not only entertained but enriched by life and the world.” It’s hard for the couple to see a light at the end of the tunnel, because every time things start to seem better, they hit another valley. It’s fatiguing, Ryan explains. “When it comes to Covid, the worst has happened a couple times. You know, you try to get up from the seat and it’s like ‘Delta!’ and then you try to get up from the seat and it’s like ‘Winter!’ and you try to get up from your seat and it’s like ‘you need a fourth vaccine!’” Ryan says. Maya’s life is not, as the couple hoped, an idyllic combination of the best parts of their childhoods. “The world we want to create for her has not and cannot come to fruition yet,” Danny says. But as for their child? “Maya’s perfect,” Danny notes.

“When it comes to Covid, the worst has happened a couple times. You know, you try to get up from the seat and it’s like ‘Delta!’ and then you try to get up from the seat and it’s like ‘Winter!’ and you try to get up from your seat and it’s like ‘you need a fourth vaccine!’”


SIXTY YEARS OF ART A diamond in the community’s cultural scene, Lawrence Art Guild celebrates 60 years of local artists supporting one another Story by Darin M. White Photography by Brian Goodman

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


n 1962, as Lawrence was transforming from a rural college town to a cultural center, a group of local artists created an organization that would do much for this transformation— the Lawrence Art Guild. Joyce Schild, an educator and artist, led the group who envisioned an organization for mutual support and promotion of Lawrence artists. That same year, inspired by longtime Hallmark artist Helen Garrett, Schild would also create the guild’s showcase event, Art in the Park. Current member Jen Unekis, who has played a number of roles in the Lawrence Art Guild, assembled some of its history and coordinated Art in the Park for many years, says that Schild’s inaugural event brought in more than 1,800 guests to see works of art by 127 artists. Writing in a document held in the archives of the Lawrence Art Guild, Schild recalls how the guild’s formation and word of the first Lawrence Art Festival (which later became Art in the Park) galvanized the art community. “It was the talk of the town,” Schild writes. “We had the high school band and chorus for entertainment. Refreshments, hosts and hostesses, programs with silk-screened covers. It was a show for the people, of the people.” Schild, who died in 2017, continued her involvement with the guild for many years and was recognized with the Lawrence Art Commission’s Phoenix Award in 2007. The organization

that she helped found continues just as strong six decades after its formation, building on its mission to create connections and advocate for artists and art education throughout the community. In addition to hosting the annual Art in the Park show, the guild presents an annual Holiday Art Fair and twiceyearly all-members shows. The guild has worked with area businesses for ongoing art displays by member artists and assist artists through guild-sponsored workshops and grant programs. In 2017, the guild began a yearly program to support Douglas County high school students by providing art teachers with money for equipment and art supplies not included in school budgets. In 2021, the guild hosted its first two-day Art in the Park event, held in the fall rather than the spring because of pandemic-related rescheduling. In 2023, the guild plans to launch “Art Spaces,” a self-guided tour of artist studios. Throughout its six decades, the guild has also focused on supporting member artists and recognizing their creations. Members often talk about how fortunate they are to be surrounded by fellow artists with opportunities to share their work and experience, no matter how long they have been exhibiting or how many awards they might hold. Here are profiles of seven guild artists whose works and backgrounds represent the range of the more than 180 current guild members.

Celia Smith Celia Smith, perhaps the longest-standing current member of the Lawrence Art Guild, joined the organization in 1968 and began to sell her work and receive commissions at guild events that same year. Smith says she is grateful for the Lawrence art community’s support throughout the years. “I have been recognized and encouraged in my painting by many people, and I feel grateful. It feeds my soul,” she says. “A painting is not quite finished until it gets an owner; that is my perception.” Smith grew up in the southern Spanish port city of Malaga. In the summers, her family visited a small fishing village where she and her sister would draw and paint portraits of other children who stopped by their place during siesta time. After graduating high school, she earned a degree in history at the University of Madrid while also studying at the School of Arts and Crafts in Madrid, where she credits two teachers for inspiring her to truly see how to portray people and nature. After receiving a scholarship to continue her studies at Mount Holyoke College, Smith arrived in the United States where she met her husband. Together, they lived and worked in Spain, Mexico, Peru and various locations in the States before settling in Lawrence. Wherever she has been, Smith has always carried with her a pencil and sketchbook to capture what she sees on her walks and trips. The sketches that she captures on the move have often inspired her finished paintings, but she also seeks to represent more abstract feelings, such as solitude, fear or happiness.


Often, Smith’s works include trees painted as colorful, distinct individuals. In this painting, Almond Trees, dancing almond trees gather in a square grove on the red-soiled hillside to seemingly exclaim their delight in basking under the blue, blue sky. For Smith, painting scenes such as this continues to be part of her daily routine. “It centers my life and my day,” she explains. “Almost, like breakfast or lunch. It is part of living.”


lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Liza MacKinnon If you have seen any of Liza MacKinnon’s work, then you will instantly recognize her layered paper sculptures evoking a sense of elegance and lore. MacKinnon says her own story as an artist began from her earliest years. Growing up as the oldest of four girls to a single mother, her home was filled with people, handmade projects of all types, invented worlds, impromptu plays and much more to challenge and delight a child’s imagination “I have always been a maker— inventing a world I wanted to live in through color, texture, and form. Art and creativity have been my companions from my earliest mark-making, pebble stacking, and cloud gazing,” she notes. MacKinnon says she draws inspiration from many sources when

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


working on her paper sculptures, including ideas taken by viewing the work of artists and borrowing a detail, color, or technique to integrate into her compositions. MacKinnon says an artist should continuously grow and learn, and she has benefitted from various courses in printmaking, ceramics, bookbinding and more. Perhaps MacKinnon’s most popular works are her paper-sculpture historic costume dresses that emulate traditional weavings, materials and patterns in works such as Marie á vivanier. MacKinnon uses recycled books, maps, papers and even photos as the material for these dresses. She rarely designs a costume ahead of time, instead relying on her patience and intuition to find what style and fashion best fit the material at hand. MacKinnon is currently working on a number of projects, including an intricate Ukrainian folk costume set to premiere at a show in New Mexico at the end of this summer.


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lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Laurie Culling

Growing up in a family where her grandfather and father were both artists, Laurie Culling was exposed to visual arts at an early age. She says being tapped to serve champagne at her father’s art shows provided her “first taste of the thrill of an art opening.” With a degree in painting and drawing from the University of Kansas, Culling has worked her way through a number of mediums including jewelry, metal-smithing, watercolors, monotypes, weaving, stained glass, ceramics, hand-made paper, and her favorite—painting. A 2002 Phoenix Award recipient, Culling has lived and worked in Lawrence since 1970, minus some time in West Germany and West

Virginia, and has been involved in forming much of what we think of as the current Lawrence art scene. As a collaborator and advocate for local artists, she has volunteered as the art exhibit coordinator for the Lawrence Library for twenty years and is a former co-president and vice-president of the Lawrence Art Guild. Currently, Culling’s preferred medium is acrylic paint on canvas. She frequently takes photographs of scenes for reference but prefers to create slightly abstracted images. Her four-by-two-foot painting Trellis Ice Sun Lights is an example of this method. In this painting of a snow-covered garden, Culling added an ethereal effect with strong lighting casting soft shadows through the trees. The image is mostly white, with subtle colors peeking through the cold landscape. “I am inspired by light, shadow, textures, colors, shapes, movement, patterns and veils,” Culling says. “All of these elements are gifts of nature’s delicate, mysterious, and powerful influence in our lives, our consciousness, and our human evolution.”

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


Walt Hull

The way Walt Hull describes it, you might not think he has lived the life of an artist. “I grew up in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which was then, as I believe it is now, something of an art colony,” he explains. “My dad was a writer, and we came there for cheap living and the presence of other writers he could argue with. I came to KU in 1959, was exposed to the wider world, fell in love, married, traveled, moved, came back, worked the usual mishmash of academic and menial jobs, saw stuff, got old, turned to art.” But Hull, who has worked as a professional welder, fabricator and blacksmith, is a consummate artist who has always had an affinity for well-made objects, the avant-garde and craft. He says that he is motivated by wanting to understand how things work and why he does or doesn’t aesthetically appreciate what he sees or hears. Through spending time with artists, traveling and studying, Hull says has developed a certain amount of what he calls “aesthetic maturity.”

Hull believes a person can become an artist by having ideas, the ability to develop technical skills and the opportunity and discipline to create works over a process of failure, success and discovery. Not every work will be a success, Hull notes, but if an artist has inspiration, some moxie and the ability to keep at it, success will come. One of Hull’s current works, the sculpture Gestures in Steel, is inspired by life sketches. Hull says his goal with this work was to “translate the energy and fluidity of the charcoal sketch into three dimensions.”


lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Heather Duris

At age 2, Heather Duris took her mother’s Bible and drew in the front pages a group of circles so perfectly executed that a friend who saw them said that Heather was destined to become an artist. Her mother, undeterred by the uncanonical addition, encouraged Duris, who continued drawing and grew up to enroll as an art student at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Before graduation, Duris took a break from school by signing up with the Army, who put her talent to use, enlisting her as multi-media illustrator and placing her in additional illustration courses through the Defense Information School. Once she completed her service, Duris returned to her academic studies, earning a BFA in painting with a minor in art history from the University of Kansas. Duris’ works are often inspired by nature, many times beginning with a photograph of a landscape that is then worked onto her canvas from dark to light, adding layers and scarping back into them. Over her time as an artist, Duris’ acrylics, as well as her graphite and paper creations, have become more abstract. She says that she has found that her most successful and satisfying works come about by focusing on an idea that she feels compelled to draw or represent. Her daily routine begins with a reading about art and with writing in her journal before going into her study to create jewelry or commissioned work and then moving on to a painting for the rest of the day. Her recent painting Pray for Peace was created in March as an early response to the war in Ukraine and features the colors of the Ukrainian flag, sunflowers and flying doves. Layered both in concept and execution, the painting presents three stalks of wheat cut from the pages of a Bible and an equal number of excerpts from the New Testament focusing on the birth of the Prince of Peace, the calming of a storm, and the return of the Prince of Peace. Duris says the work reflects her belief that our communities and nations need to actively engage in every effort to live in peace.

lawrence magazine / summer 2022


Roura Young

Roura Young grew up surrounded by artists. Her parents painted, her grandparents were collectors of objects and art, and one of her great-grandmothers also made art. Her family encouraged her creativity. They took her to art museums and enrolled her in art classes. An art instructor, Bess Carter, taught her to break down shapes and develop her own, unique style. All of this encouragement, Young says, “led me to believe that my stories, too, could be visual.” After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in art history, Young began to raise a family and paint watercolors. The more she focused solely on watercolors, she says, “the more I fell in love with the medium.”

Her mother gave her a semester’s study under Lawrence artist Diana Dunkley, and in these lessons Young began experimenting with a wide array of watercolor pigments, eventually incorporating more coarse pigments based on natural minerals and material. Young says her watercolors are inspired by nature. “I love to seek out the color in our world that we rarely notice and then play with it, especially with how it moves our eyes within a painting,” she says. She often finds inspiration for her works at the Baker Wetlands or in other woodland and green spaces around Lawrence. Recently, she has been creating a series of prairie plant watercolors, each with a depth of undergrowth and sense of movement among the leaves, flowers or seed heads that are depicted blowing in the wind. She says the study of the plants has led to an interest in the growth patterns and negative spaces formed by the different species growing alongside one another. “I try to represent these relationships between the plants and the spaces they occupy,” she says.


lawrence magazine / summer 2022

Maria S. Martin

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Abstract artist Maria S. Martin, who serves as the current president of the Lawrence Art Guild, grew up in Philadelphia, where she was surrounded her. Instead, she says she fills a blank canvas by tapping memories, feelings, scents by the artwork of her father, Joseph F. or experiences in addition to colors and light. She describes these inspirations as Maida. He took her to museums and “windows”; they break into her collages as she intuitively creates in layers, starting with instructed and mentored her from a neutral color as a base, and then building up texture. For Martin, a painting’s surface an early age. Martin studied art in structure is an essential element of the work itself. Philadelphia and then at the University She says a painting won’t survive if she starts to overthink its execution. A piece is of Kansas; she has lived in Lawrence completed when she doesn’t feel she can add anything to improve it. since 1984. The previous two years of the pandemic have prompted Martin to paint “reflected Martin prefers to work in mixedlife journeys, stories, emotions set within windows that fade out to form the media of acrylics, inks and collage; she background of a series of spring blooms ... bright exciting colors.” This imaginatively often finds inspiration from travels and Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. bright response to the dangerous conditions that surrounded us fits with Martin’s natural landscapes, particularly the I’ll bebelief there there that “art helps us see the world in a different perspective, learning something American southwest. But when she sits I’ll be for about people and places, experiencing a different emotional feeling and energy that down to paint, Martin typically does for you. you. may ignite something within us.” not have a reference image in front of

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