Her Legacy Katieâ€™s Way
Vol. 8 | Spring 2015
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Nationally Renowned Board-Certified Endovascular Specialist
Volume 8 | issue 1
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Joanne Morgan (785) 832-7264
Jenni Leiste Kristin Forbes
Contributing Michael Henry Photographers Sarah and Jake Reeves Luke Townsend
Dear Readers, Since all of you are still getting to know me, I thought that here, in the first issue of 2015, I should share a big part of who I am: I’m a musician. I’m a singer in a Lawrence-based soul/funk band; I play cover sets with my best friend on ukulele or keyboard; and I invest more time than I can feasibly calculate befriending local musicians, supporting them at shows and crushing on their EPs while at work in the office (I’m listening to the ethereal band Your Friend as I write this). In that spirit, we introduce our new music column, Now Playing, in this issue with Manhattan transplant and soulful singer Eddy Green. It’s an opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on hardworking artists in The Little Apple whom you can find at the local pub or café, sharing their tunes with all of us (often free of charge!). Good music can go a long way through word of mouth—as can an inspiring story. We are astounded by the volume of readers who chimed in on our Facebook post about the new mental-health-treatment center, Katie’s Way. The Mathis family lost their daughter Katie to suicide in 2013, and they now hope to help young people fight depression and other challenges using a team-based approach in a homey, safe space. Join us in thanking the Mathises and others working to break the silence on mental illness to save more lives. This touching story, and so much more, lies ahead in this Spring 2015 issue.
Megan Saunders Angie Sutton Lou Ann Thomas Bethaney Wallace
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40 Grape Expectations Exploring the only college winemaking program in Kansas Story by Lou Ann Thomas
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30 Now Playing: eddy green
The Winged Lion
A space built to inspire
14 Honoring Katie
Katie’s Way—a more welcoming approach to mental-health treatment
Actor, Manhattan Arts Center
The Wabash Cannonball
A proud Kansas State University tradition
22 Nonprofit Spotlight: Food fight
dialogue 34 Evan Tuttle
Manhattan transplant weighs in on homegrown music and new projects ahead
The Flint Hills Breadbasket pushes to feed the hungry, one mouth at a time
24 Gayle Dowell: Jewelry maker
36 Penny Cullers
Artistic Director, Manhattan Arts Center
travel 56 Made in the Midwest
Lucas—the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas
Get to know Manhattan’s artists
Little Apple Eats: Savory Apples
All apples are not considered equal—at least when it comes to eating one fresh versus cooking one
On the cover In every issue: manhattan magazine
4 | Editor's Note 8
62 | Events
Katie’s Way is a new treatment center for kids and young adults who may be fighting depression and other challenges, founded by the Mathises in honor of their late daughter Katie. Photograph by Sarah and Jake Reeves
Her Legacy Katie’s Way
Vol. 8 | Spring 2015
Life from a cLearer perspective Providing eye & vision services to Patients of all ages and needs
Jodi Thierer, REALTOR, Owner/Broker Jodi@legacyrealtyks.com Patty Boomer, REALTOR, Owner/ Assoc. Broker Patty@legacyrealtyks.com
3901 Vanesta Drive, Suite A. Manhattan | (785) 778-6485 www.legacyrealtyks.com
story by Lou Ann Thomas photography by Michael Henry
Winged Lion The
A space built to inspire Sometimes a dream coming true leads to more dreams fulfilled. At least, that was the case with the opening of The Winged Lion in downtown Manhattan last August. Owner Ralph Diaz had always dreamed of having a unique home décor and design shop. So after 34 years in the salon business, and 16 years as owner of Gaia Salon, he decided it was time to see that dream come true. “I like nice things and love entertaining, so this is a perfect fit for me,” Diaz says. The Winged Lion may be Diaz’s dream, but the store now serves to fulfill others’ dreams of creating a warm and inviting home of their own. The shop features many unique home accessories for every taste.
For instance, the shop carries high-end brands, including Dash & Albert rugs; Thymes lotions, creams, washes and candles; Pine Cone Hill bedding; and Vietri dishes. This Italian tableware is made from terra marrone clay, and its stunning aesthetic belies the fact that it is durable as well as microwave-, freezer-, oven- and dishwasher-safe. “I look for things that are easy to care for, have a variety of uses and yet retain their elegance,” Diaz says. Practical Elegance Diaz carries a line of glassware perfect for spring and summer entertaining on the deck or patio. Although these items appear to be fine glass, the tumblers, champagne flutes and other containers are made of an almost indestructible plastic. Diaz is always striving to find new items for the store, so his stock is always changing and growing. He recently added some gourmet fare, such as 10-yearold balsamic vinegars and special olive oils. “I don’t want to look at the same things all the time in my home or my shop, and I don’t think anyone else does either,” Diaz says. “And you don’t want to walk into other people’s houses and see the same things that you have in yours, so I am constantly changing things up.” A good rule of thumb, he says, is that if you see something you like in the store, get it right away because it might not be there on your next visit. Diaz will do his best, however, to order more of a requested item, and he is always happy to try to place special orders. Gifts for All The Winged Lion also provides bridal registries, offering a wide variety of options for brides wishing to pick dishware or tableware patterns, silver and glassware, and special gifts. From his extensive catalogs and working relationships with companies around the world, Diaz can advise customers on home décor and provide them with items to make any home feel special and inviting to hosts and guests alike. The shop itself is a warm, enticing environment where soft, yet stirring aromas greet customers as soon as they walk in the door. Repurposed living room tables, a bed and other pieces serve as display spaces, creating a tasteful mix of old and new, and supporting the store’s eclectic, but classic vibe. Not only does The Winged Lion fill a need in Manhattan for upscale home accessories and gifts for both men and women, it also helps inspire others to create their own unique spaces. “My hope and goal is that people can find something here that will change and elevate their room or home,” Diaz says. “That’s why I love doing this.”
Ralph Diaz, owner of The Winged Lion, stocks his home and décor shop with accessories that are both elegant and practical. Items rotate in and out of the shop on a regular basis, Diaz says, so if you have your eye on something, it’s best to get it right away.
where to shop
The Winged Lion 300 Poyntz Ave. | 785-341-3718 wingedlioninspiredhome.com
four ways to refresh the home
With spring upon us, it’s time to spruce up and lighten our home environments, and get ready for more entertaining. Ralph Diaz, owner of The Winged Lion, has some suggestions for creating an inviting and fun spring home. “You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money creating a home that makes people feel welcome,” Diaz says. Instead, he advises, focus on the senses. Sight. Add bright colored pillows, throws or an area rug. Little spots and splashes of color with vases, table runners or items on your counters can really spruce up a room. And don’t forget to add a spring floral arrangement here and there. Smell. Aromas that delight us change with the seasons. Spring is a time to put away the pinecone and peppermint candles, and add some floral scents and lighter aromas. Touch. Trade out heavily textured blankets, bedding and other winter items with lighter materials. You can quickly change the feel of a house by changing the linens in the bathroom or bedroom. Taste. Prepare for doing more entertaining in the warmer weather by stocking up on cocktail mixes or simple syrups that make beverage creation a snap. Make outdoor entertaining easier without sacrificing elegance by using dishes and glassware that have the look and feel of stoneware and glass but won’t scratch or break easily. These can be tossed in the dishwasher.
story by Bethaney wallace
photography by Sarah and Jake Reeves
Jeff and LeAnn Mathis founded new mental health treatment center, Katieâ€™s Way, after losing their 21-year-old daughter Katie to suicide.
Honoring Katie Katie’s Way—a more welcoming approach to mental-health treatment A 100-year-old limestone house stands at 720 Poyntz. It’s homey, a town classic, but for anyone passing by, probably just another house. Inside, however, it becomes apparent that this limestone structure isn’t just another home—it’s a place of hope. New this spring, this home will host Katie’s Way, an organization offering mental-health care to children and adolescents. Jeff and LeAnn Mathis founded Katie’s Way after losing their 21-year-old daughter Katie to suicide in 2013. It’s their opportunity to actively combat problems they have found with mental-health treatment and bring about change in spite of their loss. “I walked around every day wondering what went wrong,” Jeff says. “It led me to thinking about flaws within
lifestyle the system that, had they not existed, I think could have made a big difference.”
The Location Built in 1902, the home at 720 Poyntz is a space the Mathis family believes is perfect for Katie’s Way. The goal is to create a cozy, stigma-free location. “We thought if we could make it more of a home environment, and warm and welcoming, that we can make more of a difference,” LeAnn Mathis says. The 2,980-square-foot home has undergone a year of updating and construction to make for a safe, comfortable and discreet spot for adolescents seeking to get better. Mental-health facilities aren’t usually like this, Jeff says. “They say ‘behavioral therapy’ right on the building,” he says. “How many young people want to go and walk through that door? Too many didn’t want to do that and didn’t get help.” KatiesWayManhattan. com
A better way Jeff quickly reached out to counseling professionals asking them to join the cause once he decided to open a treatment facility. A psychologist and a psychiatrist came aboard with the intention of working together with each client. Both are board-certified and have undergone additional training specifically geared to adolescents. “I discovered there were other professionals in the field that were willing to help me create a different model of care,” Jeff says. The Mathises hope this team-based approach will prevent miscommunication among doctors, a problem they’ve seen at other centers. They also hope the comfortable and relaxed setting of the furnished Poyntz home will eliminate the stigmas associated with institutional treatment centers and hospitals. LeAnn says she is confident that the counseling team in place will make a great difference in the Manhattan community, offering a new type of therapeutic treatment. “They have like minds and similar philosophies; they know what a model of mentalhealth care should look like,” LeAnn says. “With a lot of young people, especially young people over the age of 18, parents have little to no influence.” Katie’s Way will serve ages 2 to 26, providing custom care in a setting where doctors work together, and where patients can visit or stay overnight (as necessary) in a home-like setting.
By changing the way care is administered, they hope to reach young people who are reluctant to see professionals. Remembering Katie When the Mathis family talks about Katie, they can’t help but smile, fondly remembering the tiny, goofy, adventurous daughter and sister who loved to run and row, and who rarely sat still. One of four sisters—along with Megan, Erin (Katie’s twin) and Molly—Katie is described by her family as the one who marched to the beat that fit her best: whether listening to an oversized ‘80s boom box, one of her prized possessions; wearing pajamas she’d purchased at Goodwill; or longboarding down the street, propelled by a leaf blower. Things that were “a little off,” Megan says, were the things Katie liked best. “She kind of felt like a best friend to everyone,” Molly says. “She cared about others more than she cared about herself. Every day was like a new adventure. She would come up with activities and we’d go do them. It was always something crazy.” Like running through golf-course sprinklers and fishing with Katie’s kid-sized Spider-Man pole. In fact, the logo for Katie’s Way was inspired by a fishing trip taken by Katie and Molly took, when one of Katie’s last photos was taken. Katie had suffered from depression since fourth grade, but it wasn’t something anyone could read on her face. The girls say the only way they could have known was from Katie telling them. She was too busy entertaining and creating interesting pastimes—such as raising baby ducklings in her
“With a lot of young people, especially young people over the age of 18, parents have little to no influence.” – LeAnn Mathis
college dorm room. Her twin, Erin, who was practically joined at the hip to Katie, says others would learn about Katie’s pets and ask to come visit. She had a knack for drawing others in, Erin says. “She was definitely her own person and didn’t care what anyone else had to say,” Megan says. “Anything she could kind of do to be different— she didn’t mind being different. She preferred it.” Falling into place Katie’s Way will work under a partnership with Mathis Rehab Centers (also founded by Jeff Mathis) and the No Stone Unturned Foundation, a nonprofit that offers specialized pediatric therapies. By working under both umbrellas, Katie’s Way will be able to increase its reach.
It’s also helped them get an incredible jumpstart, drawing from the expertise of these partners to expedite the organization’s progress. To date, Katie’s Way has been funded out of pocket, fueled by necessity for the cause. The Mathis family hopes to save others from their tragedy. “I really think there was some type of intervention that was beyond me,” Jeff says. “I don’t know if things happen for a reason. I don’t know if there’s a guiding hand up there. I don’t know if this was supposed to happen, but if we’re going to live with this, there’s got to be something. “If we were going to lose Katie, it can’t be meaningless. We’ve got to see some good come out of it, and I think we can.”
Find Gregory St. Amand After losing her 20-year-old son, Greg, to suicide, Beth Harrison St. Amand wanted to tell others about him and promote suicide awareness, particularly for parents who don’t have it on the radar. These goals led to her memoir, Find Gregory St. Amand: What Happened to My Son? It served as her personal form of therapy, she says, but it also allowed her to share her experience with others. Suicide awareness is something
the community should support, embrace and make part of the conversation, Beth says. She attends a support group, which she founded and tailored to discussion of the loss of an older child. She created this outlet for mothers after discovering how isolating the experience can be. After losing Greg, she and her husband, Paul, along with the rest of their family, decided there was more they could share.
“Suicide can happen to ordinary, loving families,” Beth says. “It can occur without warning, so it’s important to talk about.” Suicide prevention shouldn’t be left to the medical community alone because too many kids don’t talk about their issues and won’t access medical avenues, Beth says. Discussion on suicide prevention, she continues, starts in our homes, schools and religious institutions.
“My goal is to have parents who don’t even suspect their kids are having problems to open up a conversation,” she says. “The more we talk about suicide, the more comfortably we talk about it, the easier it is to help break the silences.” Find Gregory St. Amand: What Happened to My Son? is available at the Manhattan Public Library and on Amazon.
story by Bethaney Wallace
photography courtesy of K-State Communications Department
A Proud Kansas State University Tradition manhattan magazine
Its notes are unmistakable. Once the classic “du dun dun, du du du” is sounded, fans of all ages stand. They lean back and forth; they clap. They pose side to side, and they perform one of the only college cheers that offers an extreme ab workout. It’s “The Wabash Cannonball”— one of Kansas State University’s biggest and fastestgrowing traditions. Since the mid-‘90s, K-State band director Frank Tracz has seen the Wabash as a way to get fans on their feet. Though it has been a popular school tune since 1969, Tracz says the success of the football program allowed the song to become something more entirely—earning the unofficial title of K-State’s second fight song.
“It’ll stop you in your tracks for all the good reasons.” – Frank Tracz, K-State Band Director “It was something that grew and took a life of its own,” Tracz says. “Every year we play it, it takes a whole new flavor. The Wabash is kind of a signature for K-State, especially for the marching band.” From folk to fight “The Wabash Cannonball” got its start in the 19th century as a folk song starring a mythical train, and it was later popularized by singers like Roy Acuff. In 1968, K-State’s band director at the time, Phil Hewett, had taken the sheet music home in preparation to teach the music to the band at a later date. That same night, December 13, 1968, Nichols Hall—which housed the music department—burned to the ground, taking the band’s instruments and all of its sheet music with it. Still planning to play at an upcoming basketball game, band members borrowed instruments and performed the only song they had left in their collection— “The Wabash Cannonball.” “It was literally the only piece of music left,” Tracz says. “It became known as a survivor piece.” A Rockin’ Dance The accompanying routine, Tracz says, is credited to the band’s clarinet section.
The Pride of Wildcat Land plays the Wabash: • At the beginning of football games when they come in and play for the student section. • During pregame activities. • After the Wildcats score a touchdown, when the opposing team is returning the ball. • If there’s a time-out, and the crowd is pumped. • Additional special occasions. “It’s a little more sacred than our fight song,” drum major Brett Eichman says. “We try to save Wabash—it’s a celebratory thing.”
They started rocking back and forth while playing, and it spread throughout the band until it became one with the song. “Band kids just do it,” he says. “There’s even more moves now, and that’s the way it should be.” Soon the student section became involved, and then the rest of K-State’s fan base. Now, the band can play the Wabash’s first notes and bring thousands of fans to their feet. “It’ll stop you in your tracks for all the good reasons,” Tracz says. Senior and drum major Brett Eichman says that when it comes to the Wabash, no other song begins to compare. “You can tell the band loves it as much as the crowd does,” Eichman says. Eichman says one of his best memories over the past few years is watching the student section dance every time they played the classic K-State tune. “Everything you can see is people dressed in purple doing the Wabash,” he says. “It’s just an awesome experience. I still remember the first time I turned around and saw everybody Wabashing. I was amazed.” A K-State staple even before Tracz arrived at the university in ’93, it’s a tune that’s continued to grow every single year, Tracz says. New band members know the Wabash before they come to camp—it’s usually their first involvement and association with K-State. In fact, Tracz says, he can’t remember a time he had to explain the song, or its importance, to anyone. “I think it’s an identity,” he says. “It’s homegrown, it’s unique and it’s ours, and no one can take it away from us. That’s the best part about it.”
scholarships The K-State Alumni Association hosts annual Wabash CannonBall gala events to raise scholarship funds for area high school students who plan to attend K-State. Having started in Kansas City in 2007, they’ve since expanded their reach, hosting similar events in Denver and Houston. To date, they’ve brought in more than $2.3 million toward K-State tuition, says alumni representative, Linda Cook. To honor their namesake, the Wabash is played at each gala, causing alumni to perform the sacred dance— black-tie attire and all, Cook says.
story by Megan Saunders
The Flint Hills Breadbasket pushes to feed the hungry, one mouth at a time
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The Flint Hills Breadbasket’s mission is simple—supplying food to those in need. Making it a reality, however, requires thousands of pounds of food, many willing hands and a generous community. Maribeth Kieffer has served as the Breadbasket’s executive director since 2011; last year alone, she helped distribute nearly 640,000 pounds of food. “If you live in Manhattan and qualify for assistance, you don’t have to be hungry,” Kieffer says. “Our role in the community is to ensure that anyone in need who qualifies receives food assistance.” The Flint Hills Breadbasket began in 1982, in a small shed in which the city housed machinery. The Breadbasket did not receive any government funding during its early years; the organization now relies on community donations and grants. Since its start, the mission to feed the hungry has not changed—but it has grown. When Kieffer started, the Breadbasket served approximately 11,000 people a year, measured in number of annual visits to the facility. Now, that number is nearly 26,000. Kieffer says there is often a misconception that people who need assistance are lazy, but that this couldn’t be further from the truth. “Our numbers have increased for a variety of reasons,” Kieffer says. “Not only are we serving more senior citizens who are living longer, but we’re seeing more people who are working but making minimum wage.” Those who would like to make use of Breadbasket resources but aren’t working must prove each week that they are looking for employment by providing confirmation of
completed job applications. Clients who qualify based on income levels and a Manhattan address are invited to visit the facility once a week. In the morning, clients pick up breads, sweets, produce and other items. In the afternoons, they receive vouchers to visit a church to gather other food items—food that is delivered to churches each week from the Flint Hills Breadbasket. “We’ve partnered with several area churches since the Breadbasket began,” Kieffer says. “We provide the churches with dairy products, eggs, margarine, meat and nonperishables, and the churches often provide dish soap, detergent and other personal care items. The churches love the community connection and getting their members involved.” Each family receives enough food for three meals per day for one week. All food and monetary donations are provided by the community. “From big corporations to mom-and-pop businesses to individuals, there are so many people who are a piece of our puzzle,” Kieffer says. The Breadbasket clocks around 7,000 hours of volunteer service each year. Volunteers have various roles, including loading the trucks that go out each morning; collecting food from campus dining centers, grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses; and sorting donated items. “I’m always humbled by the generosity of the Manhattan community,” Kieffer says. “People don’t have to donate, and volunteers don’t have to get up at 6 a.m. to pick up food, but they do.” The recipients of this generosity come from all walks of life, but they have one thing
in common: a need for food. Kieffer says the first time someone visits the Breadbasket, they aren’t required to bring any paperwork to prove qualification. “You could walk in the door from Colorado, and we’ll give you food and tell you what to bring back the next time,” she says. “There’s no reason to go to bed hungry. People sometimes slip through the cracks, but when we go to bed at night, we want to think about the dozens of people we fed that day.”
pitch in! No matter your experience or schedule, you can help stop hunger in its tracks. The Breadbasket offers many ways to help, including: Monetary donations: Donations are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Even a few dollars can purchase enough food to feed a family for a day or more. Food donations: Food is accepted year-round. All food is welcome, but donations of syrup, peanut butter, jelly, canned meat, oatmeal and boxed meals are particularly helpful. Donations are weighed, and you will be given a receipt to use as a tax deduction. Volunteer: There is a variety of daily work available for people of all skill levels and abilities.
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Get to know Manhattan’s artists
Interview conducted by Nadia Imafidon
Photo by Michael Henry
I create for: those who love nature and the outdoors. I focus on the details of plant life in my jewelry creations by capturing in metal the textures of grasses and flowers of the Kansas prairie. This year I’m focusing on the seeds of the grasses and flowers as a tribute to the seed gatherers. Seeds send a message of restored hope, new beginnings and growth. The Kansas prairie is: my inspiration for most all of my recent work. Hiking the prairies of Kansas has provided me with an abundance of inspiration. There is a great biological diversity that can be found on the prairie that many people miss. They just haven’t taken the time to kneel down and look closely at the plant life through the seasons of the year.
gayle Dowell Jewelry maker |
My work is finished when: I feel that I’ve been able to capture the essence of a plant, or when I feel that I’ve been able to communicate the message on my heart or mind. I will never forget: a woman who contacted me about ordering some earrings. She had moved to the East Coast from the Midwest, and she was looking for something to remind her of home. She purchased a pair of little bluestem earrings that I designed specifically for her. I’m not sure why that order touched me so much. Maybe because we all want to feel at home wherever life takes us.
I’m an artist because: I enjoy the journey of creating something with my hands that reflects a memory or an experience in life. Art exposes my heart to the world so that others can share in the journey as if walking beside me.
I still want to make: the ideas that fill my sketchbook, although I’m not sure I have the time to execute all of them. As a child, I collected rocks. My goal this year is to incorporate more rocks (gemstones) in my jewelry pieces. If I could hike anywhere, I’d go to: Mount Kilimanjaro with my family. We’ve done some traveling around Africa for mission work with our nonprofit charity, Planting Hope International. It would be nice to go back to Tanzania on vacation and do some hiking. My favorite Manhattan location is: the Konza prairie as the sun is rising or setting. Our family was hiking one evening as the wind came up right before a rain as the sun was setting. The sky burned red, setting the prairie aflame. The wind swept the dark gray clouds along like smoke, finishing the spectacular fiery scene. From that experience, I created a ring molded from prairie plants with a fiery orange carnelian gemstone and named it “Prairie Fire.”
Let us put a smile on your face! Curtis L Hayden, DDS, PA Conveniently located in Manhattan, Junction City and Wamego
story by Angie Sutton
photography by Luke Townsend
Little Apple Eats: Savory savory Apples apples All apples are not created equal—at least when it comes to eating one fresh versus cooking one. We often think of this fruit in terms of being baked into a sugary delicacy, but its savory side is one that should not be ignored. Apples are incredibly versatile, used for cooking, or in juice, cider and vinegar production. This palatepleasing fruit can be baked, stewed, dried, pureed into sauce and apple butter, turned into jelly, and of course, picked off the branch to eat right away. In The Little Apple, restaurants are taking advantage of its versatility on their menus. At Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill in Aggieville, Chef Darin Eible makes a sweet Fuji apple cream sauce, which acts as the base of their Pacific Farm Pasta. This hearty dish features jumbo shrimp and grilled chicken breast sautéed with fresh sage and the sweet apple cream sauce, tossed with penne pasta. Owner and general manager
Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill’s Pacific Farm Pasta
Braised Pork Medallions with Apples Ingredients 1 pork tenderloin, sliced into 8 pieces ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 1 large apple, cored and coarsely chopped ½ cup apple cider
Instructions Mix the pepper and pumpkin pie spice together in a small bowl. Season medallions into the mix. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; brown pork on both sides, remove from pan and reserve. Add onion and apples to the skillet and sauté until just soft. Add apple cider to skillet and heat to a simmer. Return pork medallions to the pan, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Serves four. Source: Jodi Oleen, Director of Consumer Outreach, Kansas Pork Association
Hibachi Hut’s pork-belly appetizer with Granny Smith apples
Megan Curtin says the fresh apples really make this dish pop. “The Fuji apple cream sauce makes this dish flavorful and bright, and really complements shrimp and chicken,” Curtin says. “Darin created the recipe and chose the Fuji variety because of its sweet, juicy and firm texture, which presents well when sautéed.” Downtown at Hibachi Hut, you’ll find a pork-belly appetizer with grilled Granny Smith apples, plated with smoked and braised pork belly, and topped with red onion marmalade. Pork belly, a thicker cut of bacon, has an enticing smoky flavor, which melds the pork and apple together nicely in this original recipe. The Granny Smith is a tart, very crisp and juicy apple that tends to maintain its color and form when cooked. “The Granny Smith variety provides a slightly sour profile over a sweet taste,” says general manager Mark Rosen. “We really want the apple to do something different, as people don’t always think to pair fruit and meat together.” Rosen adds that this particular apple is also featured in another menu item: apple Andouille sausage stuffing, with mushrooms, pork and chicken breast. The Granny Smith flavor holds well with the spicy notes in the dish.
At Westside Market, owner Terry Olson likes the Missouri Jonathan when it is in season, from late September through November. The tart flavor is appealing, and it holds its shape well when cooked. Olson then switches to Granny Smith apples for the rest of the year. She suggests blending different types of apples in a recipe to provide a robust combination of flavors.
“My rule of thumb is to select apples that seem firm and heavy for their size. In the fall, look for apples that are from your region. In late spring to summer, apples from the Southern Hemisphere will be the freshest.” – Terry Olson
Gala: Extra sweet; great for apple salads, dehydrating and cider. Jonathan: Tangy, tart, crisp; the best choice for pies and sauce. Honeycrisp: Sweet, tart, crisp; great for salads and pies or simply sliced.
about the writer, Angie Sutton
Golden Delicious: Sweet, juicy; fine for pies if you add a bit of lemon juice.
Angie Sutton is a Midwest mother of five attempting controlled chaos daily, while cooking really great meals. She writes a weekly home and family column in High Plains Journal and maintains a food blog that features her favorite at-home recipes with family-approved ingredients— and a touch of humor. www.mothersapronstrings.com
Jonagold: Sweet, tart, juicy; makes for a sweet pie or a tasty sauce. McIntosh: Fruity, juicy, a little softer; fit for applesauce. Cameo: Tart, crisp, juicy; cooks OK.
Angie’s addition: Texture is key. When cooking or baking with apples at home, you need to keep in mind that texture is important to enjoyment of the finished product. Apples that are best suited for baking or cooking have a balance of intense sweet-tart flavor and will retain their shape and consistency against the heat. Pairing apples with a meat dish may come down to the personal taste preference of whether you like sweet or tart. Give the Fuji, Golden Delicious or Jonagold a try with your next pork tenderloin.
Red Delicious: Crunchy, sweet, juicy; does not withstand heat well in cooking or baking. Can be eaten raw, but texture is a bit grainy. Fuji: Sweet, crisp, juicy; cooks OK with a bit of lemon juice. Granny Smith: Tart, very crisp, juicy; great for pies or in recipes with spicy notes; holds shape well in cooking. Braeburn: Extremely crisp, tart; holds shape well in cooking process and tastes great in sauce. Pink Lady: Extremely crisp, tart; does OK holding shape when cooked, great to eat raw.
story by Nadia Imafidon photographs courtesy of Eddy Green
Manhattan transplant weighs in on homegrown music and new projects ahead
Eddy Green isn’t a Manhattan native, but the work he has done in the last four years to enhance and promote the local music scene cannot be ignored. A soulful singer-songwriter and guitar picker from Kentucky, Green ventured to the Little Apple in 2011 to pursue a doctorate in sociology at Kansas State University. “Having been a professional musician for the previous decade back home and traveling around the country, I had passed Exit 313 on Interstate 70 but had never visited Manhattan before moving here,” Green says. “I’ve grown to really love the Flint Hills.” The success of indie music depends on someone opening up opportunities for these artists, and Green is certainly one of the driving forces in Manhattan. He hosts “Underground Sounds,” a show held the first Tuesday every month at Auntie Mae’s Parlor, where he shares the bill with guest artists. What do you think about the music scene in MHK? The music scene here is great from an artist’s perspective. But it’s also important to mention how hard it is to get folks out to live music these days. While big corporate concerts—arena shows, for example—are still bringing people out, local music struggles to fill venues most of the time. Tell us about your night at Auntie Mae’s. What’s the story behind it? I have said many times that the world would be a better place if all venues were owned and run by folks like Jeff Denny. Few folks support music and are as big a fan as Jeff. We have been doing “Underground Sounds” for almost two years. I also have to give a shout-out to David
Spiker, who runs sound and has been a staple artist in the MHK scene for years. This gives me the ability to work out new material and work on sets that I can take on the road when I travel to play. “Underground Sounds” also allows me to regularly work with other local and traveling singer-songwriters. Tell us about your latest album. My latest project, Transients, is a collaboration with Mike West and Danny McGaw (of Wells the Traveler). Mike and his partner, Katie West, live in Lawrence and tour all over the world as Truckstop Honeymoon. Mike and Katie had produced my first solo album, There’s No Place Like Home, which was released in 2013 (digital
release made available in 2014) I was eager to work and record again with Mike at his studio, the 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor. Transients is a record by three artists from very different places that met up here in the Midwest. Folks can get the new album at Sisters of Sound record store. Speaking of which, I have a new 45 coming out in April for Record Store Day, entitled “Bottomland.” Who are your Top 3 MHK musicians to look out for this spring? Is this a trick question? (Editor’s note: It was—you caught us!) I’ve
met lots of great musicians here in MHK. I’m a fan of the Haymakers, Field Day Jitters, Parallel Path, Carney Encore, Starving in Style, The Mathematics, M-31, Joshua Jay, Jessica Paige, Tabor Rucker and several others. Is music soon going to share the spotlight with a career fueled by your sociology degree? I have, sometimes with great difficulty, infused both my academic life and my musical life. My life experience as an artist has helped me with sociology. Vice versa, many of my colleagues know my music as well, if not better than, my scholarship. I’m not exactly sure how both of these life skills and career paths unfold, but that is part of the excitement forward. I will say that having two muses to draw from keeps me from being bored or without something to work toward. In the end, I’m looking for a fulfilling and examined life. Can we expect you to stay in Manhattan? My time in Manhattan is, unfortunately, coming to an end by this time next year. I have enjoyed the Flint Hills tremendously and met some brilliant artists and academics alike. While Manhattan has been a formative chapter in my life, my partner, Heather Branham, and I must continue on our paths forward. I intend on pursuing life as a scholar and professional songwriter. I have written songs about the heart-wrenching process of leaving southern Appalachia. I can imagine writing some about our experiences in the Midwest. That being said, we don’t know where the next chapter of our journey will unfold.
out this g n i m o song c land” (This is a o-wrote “Bottom don, c on spring. I ld friend from L sby.) g o with an named Dave Gri y Kentuck
s. about los s i g n o s , the it is (In short re importantly nist But mo hat the protago st about los ’ t understand.) doesn
(I find that in th e fa global consciousn st paced era of often confused a ess we are all too bout We set this song a what is going on. previous era to ca nd character in a pture this sentim ent.)
a to me e d i e h t t ough (Dave br e Tennessee Valley s about th fl ooding holler y at A uthorit ng of a myth th up i e and hear ad refused to giv h d.) somebody nd and drowne their la (Locally, I had a ls there were some ol o heard that dh bottom of Tuttle C ouses at the reek Lake)
“Bottomland” The thought seemed too much for him to take Granddaddy’s tilled valley, at the bottom of a lake A family fire kept a hundred years we’re told , The promise of a son, this hearth, o unfold t n o s e o give the y then g never to grow cold (The stor der will have to out on
Alvin Napier, give up your bottomland Lake is rising, better get out while you can Your family farm is not part of a larger plan Alvin Napier, give up your bottomland —Bottomland, by Eddy Green and Dave Grigsby
where do you find Your inspiration? These days, I like to create a character and then tell a story from their perspective. I find inspiration in everyday interactions. As a younger artist, my songs were often autobiographical. My partner often tells people, “There are no secrets living with a songwriter.” Turnabout is fair play, though. She is a gifted playwright, and gets me back with characters that resemble my goofier attributes. All is fair in love and art, I suppose.
ea s but the r en when it come il.) t r s song a li store day in Ap d recor
er vin Napi p l A p u e ad kee ( So we m d that he would ome s de and deci ather’s farm, sip t) u df his gran hine, and hold o s moon
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interview conducted by Nadia Imafidon
photography by Michael Henry
evantuttle Actor, Manhattan Arts Center
dialogue This season, we took our Q&As to the stage of the Manhattan Arts Center. After hearing from artistic director Penny Cullers (see next page), that actor Evan Tuttle was a rising star, we were eager to learn what makes him tick. Apparently, everything does. Tuttle embraces his community in any way that he can—whether it’s in the arts, at nonprofit board meetings or putting up the streamers at the latest holiday hoopla. “I’m always anxious for the next big production,” Tuttle says. Tell us about your life in Manhattan and what you’re involved in. I seem to show up everywhere. I started out as the assistant technical director at McCain Auditorium and ended up as the former executive director of the Aggieville Business Association. I’ve served on a number of nonprofit boards, produced a few music festivals and decorated countless Christmas trees. I am also known for acting and hosting onstage and for public events. If you had one wish for Manhattan, what would it be? A greater appreciation for beauty. And history. The arts are important in Manhattan because… they make us question the status quo and appreciate the good, bad and ugly of life. What is your dream production and dream role? I’ve been very fortunate recently, in that I’ve had the opportunity to play three dream roles in a row: Emcee in Cabaret, Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Editor’s note: According to Cullers, he was “AMAZING.” )
What’s it like working under the direction of Penny Cullers? Penny takes personal joy in encouraging and letting others grow. She’s a true collaborator, not a competitor. I love working for and with her. Who would you say is your biggest mentor? My biggest mentor is my Mom. She provides an example of being kinder than she needs to be to others and has a lot more patience than me. She taught me to be thoughtful. I have to give my Dad (who has passed away) credit for providing the example of generosity. I must also mention my Grandma. She graduated from college in 1952. That was a big deal at that time! I always looked up to her for that, and made sure that I graduated too. I owe my love of music, and ability to read, to her. How do you immerse yourself in the Manhattan community? I’m usually around when there’s a special event or a holiday that needs decorating. I also enjoy live entertainment of any kind, be it theater on a massive stage or a singer-songwriter at the local dive bar. What’s on your bucket list? Open my own business dealing with people’s lifestyles, homes, fashion, events and décor—that type of thing. I’d also like to star in a biopic of David Bowie. Are you thinking about taking your acting skills to Hollywood? I think I’d do better onstage than camera. Ideally, I’d like to do this in New York, or London would be my ultimate dream. But, we shall see!
interview conducted by Nadia Imafidon
photography by Michael Henry
Pennycullers Artistic Director, Manhattan Arts Center
dialogue When Penny Cullers moved to Manhattan at the age of 12, it was the perfect fit from the start. After attending Eugene Field School, Manhattan Junior High and Manhattan High School, she felt no need to stray from home, and she chose Kansas State University to pursue a degree in theater. “I love my hometown,” Cullers says. “While I could have chosen to go elsewhere to work on a theater career, I choose instead to stay here amongst the people that I love, the town that I love and amongst the beautiful rolling hills of the Flint Hills.” How did you find yourself working at Manhattan Arts Center? I started volunteering at the Manhattan Arts Center about eight years ago when a friend called and asked if I would take a role in a play he was directing called Moon Over Buffalo. I became a regular volunteer at MAC as an actor, and forever friends with many of the folks who also give their heart and soul to the theater. After my second musical directing experience (The Pirates of Penzance) was wildly successful, I was then hired as artistic director at the MAC to ensure the quality of all of the productions that we produce. What would be your dream production to direct? I would really love to direct Rent, and will in fact be doing so at MAC in the summer of 2015. Rent is an amazing musical. Just like Rocky Horror, it pushes us all out of our comfort zones about sexuality and gender identity. While Rocky Horror is fun, dark and silly, Rent emphasizes our humanity. It reaches down to our souls and asks us to be tolerant of everyone. I love this message.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I love that my job brings people together to dream, imagine, create, think, laugh, cry, grow, learn and evolve. I love that theater is an art form that is always alive and moving—that it not only reflects who we are as people, but that I have the opportunity, just like that dancer, to find my footing. Which role in any production would best suit your personality? I like to think of myself as a kind of jester-philosopher, as I think my strongest traits are my ability to see insights into the human soul, revere it and then find the humor in it as well. Perhaps poor Yorick in Hamlet might fit the personality that I describe, but Yorick, being a fellow of infinite jests, has the last laugh in Hamlet by never appearing onstage. Perhaps some day I should write a play for myself with the life of Yorick. What’s on your bucket list? See the Manhattan Arts Center get a second theater for our children’s productions; direct a film (I am actually planning out how I can make this possible); finish my second novel, a sequel to the first one (Monday Rising); see a show on Broadway; be able to say that I brought more love into the world. Best piece of advice you ever received? My mother, Marianne Cullers, taught me this every day of my life, and still reminds me of it to this day: “Always work hard, always do your best and always do the right thing.”
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Features 40 Grape Expectations Exploring the only college winemaking program in Kansas
Photograph by Michael Henry
48 Picture It How Manhattanâ€™s charm captivated Gordon Parks
Scott Kohl is the director of the only Viticulture and Enology program in Kansas, located at the Wamego campus of Highland Community College. manhattan magazine
E x p e c t a t i o n s story by lou ann thomas photography by luke townsend
When you think of grape-growing and winemaking regions, it’s likely that California, Italy or France comes to mind. What you may not realize is that Kansas has a grapegrowing and wine industry, too. And it’s growing every year, thanks to the Viticulture (grape-growing) and Enology (winemaking) program at the Wamego campus of Highland Community College. “There is a high demand for grapes and juice in Kansas right now, and the Highland program is spearheading the educational process for creating that,” says Chad Lohman, certified sommelier and owner of Nespor’s Wine & Spirits in Manhattan, who has taken several classes and workshops through the program. Growing grapes, making wine Since early 2009, Highland Community College in Wamego has offered classes, workshops and consultation for the workforce, owners and simply wine-lovers interested in learning more about grape-growing and the drink created from it. Highland is the only school in the state to offer such classes, as well as two-degree tracks in both viticulture and enology. Students who wish to own or manage a winery or vineyard can pursue an associate degree by completing the 63-credit-hour class curriculum. Those looking to learn the basics so they can work in the wine industry enroll in the technical certificate program, in which they must complete a 24-credit-hour curriculum. The introductory viticulture courses cover such topics as
grape selection, vineyard-site selection and preparation, equipment, vine growth development and training, weed control, and vine disease control. Students are also expected to fulfill a field practicum with hands-on experience. Other classes cover such topics as pest management, soil quality and vineyard management. After making his own wine as a hobby, Justin Ogleby decided he would also like to try planting a few grape vines of his own. He quickly realized he didn’t know much about what is needed to grow healthy vines, which takes four to five years, so he started taking classes simultaneously. “There is a lot of science behind growing grapes, and I knew I needed to learn more about that, so I started taking viticulture classes at Highland,” Justin says. Justin now has a vineyard with 450 vines, and he harvested his first crop from last year. Enology classes provide students with an understanding of winemaking principles, the science and technology of that process, and information about the beneficial and harmful microorganisms that can be encountered in winemaking. The “Sensory Evaluations” course is intended to aid students in developing an understanding of how to optimize the use of their senses as wine consumers or as commercial winemakers.
A Brief History of Grapes and Wine in Kansa s
In the early 19th century, Kansas had a significant grape-growing and winemaking presence. Our soil, long and sunny growing season, and latitude provide favorable growing conditions.
18 70 s Kansas is one of the largest grape-growing and winemaking regions in the United States, with wineries located as far west as Russell.
1881 Kansas outlaws alcoholic beverages, and thanks to Carrie Nation and the early Temperance Movement, the stateâ€™s grape and wine industry takes a big hit. However, many vineyard owners refuse to give up their grapes.
Director of the HCC program Scott Kohl trims grape plants in the vineyard, a task to be completed in the winter before growing season begins.
Despite Prohibition in the state, 5,000 acres of vineyards are reported, according to the Kansas Department of Commerce.
National Prohibition is passed, and the grape and wine industry in Kansas is virtually destroyed.
The Armistice Day blizzard on November 11 and 12 was so severe that whatever was left of the grape and fruit industry in the Midwest was wiped out.
The Kansas Farm Winery Statute is passed, and the state is once again open for grape-growing and winemaking. The route back to the stateâ€™s former prominence is long and arduous, beginning from scratch.
Highland Community College begins offering classes as part of its Viticulture and Enology program at the Wamego campus.
There are 380 acres of grape vines reportedly growing in Kansas, and the stateâ€™s wines are awarded four of the 20 prestigious national Jefferson Cups.
The acreage of grape vines growing in the state has almost doubled since 2010, according to Scott Kohl of HCC.
Mike Life says this class helped him learn what to look for when tasting wine—including color, taste, aroma and appearance—and how to accurately describe these senses. “I learned a standard language that allows me to discuss wines so others know what I’m talking about, and I appreciate talking about wine more now,” Mike says. “It really provides a foundation for enjoying the study of wine for the rest of your life.” The class appeals to the wine enthusiast who is interested in reaching advanced levels of appreciation, as well as producers and wine merchants. Enrollees must be at least 21 years old. Award-winning wine When the program began six years ago, there were approximately a dozen wineries and only a few vineyards, of varying sizes, in the state. “In 2010, we had 380 documented acres of grapes grown in the state and around a dozen wineries,” says program director Scott Kohl. “We now have close to 600 acres of grapes being grown and over 30 wineries.” An early key for the rapid growth of the program was its partnership with the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance. This program funded by the National Science Foundation is intended to help support vineyards and wineries across the country. Highland was able to apply for grants through VESTA that help fund the three vineyards the school maintains and uses as living classrooms. Highland also harvests the grapes in these vineyards to make award-winning wines. That’s right. In just a few years of existence, Highland’s program has already produced winners. Its first vintage, a dry red Chambourcin Reserve—bottled in 2013 and made from grapes taken from its Oregon Trail Vineyard—received the Best of Show award from the Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Association. The HCC semi-sweet Traminette wine also received the Best of Class Award that year.
“It really surprised me,” Scott says. “There were some really good wines there, and receiving this kind of acknowledgement validates what we are trying to do here. It tells us that our instructors and winemakers know what they’re doing.” Only in Kansas Dee and Janet Forge own Prairie Ridge Vineyards, near St. George, which is on the site of the first winery since Prohibition to be licensed in Kansas. Today the vineyard grows eight varieties on 18 acres and provides juice or must—pressed whole grapes that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit—to other wineries. “Before Highland began this program, growers and wineries in Kansas had to look to Nebraska or Missouri for help,” Janet says. “Having classes and workshops right here for those interested in the industry has been very helpful and has helped increase the visibility of the Kansas wine industry.” The program, which draws students from as far away as Wichita, Hays and Kansas City, is also drawing the interest of wine lovers and wine purveyors. “It’s a great program,” says Chad Lohman of Nespor’s. “I started taking classes because I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience with the grape-growing side of things and learn more about what goes into each bottle of wine.” Scott Kohl and program instructors Nick Martin and Dylan Rolfes are great advocates, Chad says, helping create a strong foundation for the wine industry. Scott hopes they are also helping to elevate the quality of grapes and wine being produced in the state. And he says there are signs that that is indeed happening. “When we have speakers come here from other states, like California, Missouri, Texas, wherever, they all mention how the quality of Kansas wine has significantly increased over the last few years,” Scott says. “We’d like to think we have helped with that.”
V i n e ya r d s Highland Community College Wamego Campus is home to the state’s only Viticulture and Enology Program. The school has created three vineyards, which serve as living classrooms, offering students hands-on learning opportunities including everything from the planting of the vines to the harvesting of the grapes. The school even has its own licensed winery, which bottles wines made from the grapes grown in its vineyards. The Oregon Trail Vineyard, 20401–20799 Oregon Trail Road, established in 2009, consists of 840 vines, 125 of which are a variety trial (Vignoles, Riesling, Chardonnay and Lemberger). The remaining vines are Chambourcin (red French-American hybrid) and Traminette (white FrenchAmerican hybrid). This is the vineyard that provided the grapes for the program’s awardwinning 2013 wines. The Research Vineyard, established in 2012, just east of the HCC campus in Wamego, is home to 12 vines, each of 44 varieties of grapes—including table grapes, old hybrids like Catawba and Niagara, and a new hybrid, Chardonel. This vineyard also has some grape varieties from Minnesota which are coldtolerant. The newest vineyard, Military Trail Vineyard, is across Highway 24 from the campus and consists of six acres. Established in 2014, it is home to 3,200 vines on 5.5 acres.
Story By Megan Saunders Photography by Michael Henry
How Manhattan’s charm captivated Gordon Parks
When you ask locals what they remember about Gordon Parks’ visits to Manhattan in the 1980s, one word repeatedly pops up: charismatic. “You couldn’t help being around him and thinking, ‘This is the coolest guy I have ever met, ‘” says Kevin Peirce, a Manhattan resident and friend of Parks. Parks was a photographer, writer, musician and film director who was showered with awards throughout his lifetime. He was named “Magazine Photographer of the Year” by the American Society of Magazine Photos in 1961, and received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1972. Parks won praise for writing The Learning Tree and directing the film, Shaft. Above all, he was a Kansan—in fact, he was named Kansan of the Year in 1985. He was buried in his Kansas hometown, Fort Scott, after passing away in 2006. The Manhattan Mercury hired Parks in 1984 to photograph the community for a special section titled “In This Huge Silence,” referencing one of Parks’ poems, to commemorate the paper’s 100th anniversary. This wouldn’t be his only trip to Manhattan, however.
Renaissance man Parks was born in Fort Scott on November 30, 1912, to a farming family. Eventually, he would make his way from Kansas to New York City to pursue his photography career. Jill Warford, executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College, says Parks is often called a “Renaissance man”—and for good reason. “He actually got his start as a fashion photographer,” Warford says. “He shot fashion
“He made a wonderful record of the town as seen through the eyes of one of the most accomplished 20th-century artists, not to mention a Kansas native son.” - Cheryl Collins,
director of the Riley County Historical Museum
Michael Henry shot Gordon Parks in Fort Scott during the filming of “The Learning Tree” in 1969.
“The prairie is still in me, in my talk and manners. I sometimes suspect that this place no longer recognizes me— despite these cowboy boots, this western hat and my father’s mustache that I wear.” —Gordon Parks, “In This Huge Silence”
photos for all the major magazines. Gordon had a good eye—he understood the art of observation.” Eventually, Parks would go on to be a jackof-all-trades, directing movies, penning several books and becoming the first African-American photographer to work for Life magazine. No matter how successful he became, he never forgot his Kansas roots, Warford says. “He still came back home from time to time,” she says. “Many of his family had scattered, but his sister still lived in the family home in Fort Scott. He also returned home in 1950 to see what his former classmates had done.”
Documenting Manhattan Of course, Parks’ visits to Kansas were not confined to Fort Scott. Cheryl Collins, director of the Riley County Historical Museum, was the museum’s archivist when Parks visited the museum to research the community in 1984. “He mainly wanted to see images of the past to get a reference point about Manhattan,” Collins says. “He made a wonderful record of the town as seen through the eyes of one of the most accomplished 20th-century artists, not to mention a Kansas native son.” Bringing Parks to Manhattan was “an inspired idea” by The Manhattan Mercury, Collins says. This trip led to a second trip two years later. Parks was so intrigued by the Manhattan community that he decided to return for a bigger project, which turned into a traveling exhibit: “From the Huge Silence: A Century of Life in a Small Kansas Town.” Opposite Michael Henry went to a few locations that Gordon Parks photographed—including the historic Goodnow House pictured—to recreate some of the shots Parks captured in the ’80s.
Your Room...In Perfect Harmony! “He wanted to further develop his ideas of Manhattan,” Collins says. “The Kansas and Manhattan arts commissions sponsored the exhibit, which was first shown in Manhattan.” Like others who met him, Collins says Parks was a charismatic person who captured everyone’s attention. But, she adds, he also made it apparent that he was focused on his work. “He was in his 70s when he visited, but he was very energetic,” Collins says. “It was an interesting combination, to be so soft-spoken and charismatic, but you just knew his mind was on his work.” Parks photographed many areas of Manhattan— including the Goodnow House, the sale barn at the Manhattan Commission Company and local churches—for both the newspaper and the traveling exhibit.
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Kevin Peirce knew Parks ever since he was 6 years old, when his mother, a lecturer at Hutchinson Community College, worked with Parks on a talk he gave as part of the college’s Dillon Lecture Series. Peirce says Parks’ main assistant was a Kansas State University graduate who had
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Rick A. Fulton, D.D.S. Angela J. Martin, D.D.S. Morgan Lewis-Smith, D.D.S. gone to school with his mother. He says he’ll never forget how engaged people were by the stories he told. “He was mainly known for his photographs, but he was such a wonderful storyteller,” Peirce says. “Sometimes I can’t remember if I’m recalling a story he wrote or a conversation we had.” Peirce, who now owns Bluestem Bistro and Varsity Donuts in Manhattan, says he and his mother spent time with Parks again when he visited Manhattan for the Mercury special section. “Even though Manhattan is a smaller town, he really enjoyed the town’s younger population and its energy,” Peirce says. “He was pleasantly surprised. He didn’t do many projects like that where he visited communities and took pictures, and I’m really glad he chose to do it in Manhattan.” Peirce says it was hard to put Parks’ charm into words. Sure, he was popular with the ladies, but they weren’t the only ones captivated by the artist. “When you met him, it didn’t matter who you were or how old you were, you were just in awe of him,” Peirce says. “Some people just have that fire. You have to wonder how much he slept, because he was just always on.”
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a day at the auction In the 57 years that Mervin Sexton has owned the Manhattan Commission Company, he has seen all types of cattle come through the sale barn doors. It’s much more rare to see famous photographers. Sexton owned the sale barn (along with John Cline) when Gordon Parks made his first trip to Manhattan to take pictures. Though he called ahead to receive permission to shoot, Parks slipped in and out of the crowd nearly unnoticed. “He seemed to fit right in with everyone,” Sexton says. “He was right at home.” Sexton says Parks seemed to quickly take a liking to the cattle-auction atmosphere, probably because of his Kansas upbringing. “He’s from Fort Scott, and that’s a cattle area,” Sexton says. “He was attracted to this kind of atmosphere. He was a very renowned person, so it was nice to have him here.” Parks’ photos from the day at the sale barn focused on the people in the stands, but Sexton says he seems to remember a few cattle finding their way in front of the lens, as well.
Mervin Sexton, owner of the Manhattan Commission Company, was photographed by Gordon Parks when he made his first trip to Manhattan.
Lucasâ€”the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas story and photography by Lou Ann Thomas
This quote (right) by Charlie Lucas, displayed at the Grassroots Art Center, expresses a commonly held belief by other grassroots artists: that even without compensation, they’d continue to create their art.
Once days lengthen and warm up, it’s easy to get anxious to flee the house, which has become a hibernation den through the cold winter months. It’s the perfect time of year for a road trip. And if you love quirky places, art and scenic drives, head to Lucas. Known as the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas, Lucas is one location that you can make the most out of when spring fever gets in your system. Stops along the way The clearest lake in Kansas There are two main routes to Lucas from Manhattan. The first is to take Interstate 70 to Highway 232 and head north. Highway 232 is the Post Rock Scenic Byway, which offers some breathtaking vistas of the Smoky Hills as it heads five miles toward Wilson Lake.
Other things to see while in Lucas:
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“Our artists are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” – Rosslyn Schultz, executive director of the Grassroots Art Center
Top left Grassroots Art Center Bottom left Enter quirky public restroom Bowl Plaza through an entrance constructed to resemble an open toilet lid, and find mosaic designs throughout the building. Right The Czech Heritage Mural by Lucas artist Erika Nelson.
travel The 9,000-acre lake, considered the “clearest in Kansas,” offers campgrounds and cabins, shelter houses, a marina, hiking and biking trails, and more than 8,000 acres of public hunting grounds. Highway 232 follows along the eastern edge of the lake and crosses a northern arm, but there are several side roads that lead to the State Park office, campgrounds and lakeside stops. The lake is often at the top of lists of the best places to catch a Kansas sunset. Lincoln Art Center, 126 E. Lincoln Ave. The alternative route is Highway 18, which can be accessed by taking Highway 77 just north of I-70 on the west side of Junction City. Along this route you will pass through Lincoln. Be sure to stop by the Lincoln Art Center, 126 E. Lincoln Ave. This center has been offering arts education for this rural community since 1993, as well as a gallery art shop and the main gallery, which houses exhibitions by local, state and regional artists. www.lincolnartcenter.org The art center isn’t the only place to see original art along this route. In fact, as you head west out of Lincoln, the journey itself becomes an art gallery, with J.R. Dickerman’s fanciful sculptures on the sidelines. There are 12 welded metal creations—part of his “Open Range Zoo”—along Highway 18. The larger ones are made from farm equipment, like his “Dream Dragon IV The Harvestor” near mile marker 106. Count how many of the 12 you spot as you head to or from Lucas. Once there Garden of Eden, 305 E. Second St. Samuel Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden may be the best-known wonder in Lucas, and it is certainly the oldest. Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran, schoolteacher, farmer and Populist politician, began building the garden and cabin in 1907. He worked for more than 20 years, and used 113 tons of cement and limestone to create this unusual home and grounds. The 11-room house is built of limestone logs, most running the entire length of the building. The garden has 150 concrete sculptures, and a 40-foot-tall limestone log mausoleum houses glass-topped concrete coffins where Dinsmoor and his wife, Emilie, are laid to rest. The Garden of Eden has had a recent refurbishing, and some of the color and clarity of sculptures depicting biblical characters and Dinsmoor’s political beliefs has been restored.
The Garden of Eden is the oldest wonder in Lucas, featuring 150 concrete sculptures and a 40-foot-tall limestone log mausoleum where the creator and his wife are laid to rest.
Other things to see while in Lucas:
Florence Deeble Rock Garden (Admission is included in the Grassroots Art Center admission fee: $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children age 6-12)
As a child, Florence Deeble watched Samuel Dinsmoor construct his Garden of Eden. This must have left quite an impression on Deeble, who, after retiring from teaching, began creating her own concrete yard art. Deeble used cement and rocks she brought back from her travels to create “postcards.” Today her yard remains for people to explore her sculptures of Mount Rushmore, Estes Park and other scenes.
Bowl Plaza Naming a public restroom as a don’t-miss stop on a road trip may not be the norm, but you don’t want to pass up a visit to one of the most unique potties in the world. With more than 15,000 visitors coming to Lucas every year, the town needed public restrooms. So in keeping with the creative spirit of the town, the restrooms became a work of art. The building is shaped like a toilet tank, the entrance is a raised toilet lid, and beautiful mosaics decorate the inside and outside walls. As one visitor put it, the Bowl Plaza “is ‘going’ in style.”
Hobby House 127 N. Main St. Everything is handmade in this gift shop, which features wall hangings, embroidery and crochet work. Kristie Boland and her mother, RoseMarie Boland, make the items in the store and will take custom orders when they can.
Grassroots Art Center, 213 S. Main St. Lucas is home to the Grassroots Art Center, which has quickly gained the reputation of being the center of grassroots art—created by artists without formal artistic training—in the Midwest. The creations are usually made from found materials like recycled plastic bottles, aluminum can pull tabs, rakes and shovels, concrete and glass. These items are then used in new and extraordinary ways. Kansas ranks third, behind Wisconsin and California, in the number of grassroots art sites within its borders. The Grassroots Art Center not only exhibits yard environments from 25 to 30
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grassroots artists, but is also helping to document and preserve sites across the country and beyond. “Our artists are ordinary people, doing extraordinary things,” says Rosslyn Schultz, executive director of the center. “They don’t market themselves, but rather create for their own enjoyment. We have listings of grassroots artists and sites from every state and even some in Europe, and keep information about every documented site in our resource library.” Schultz and colleagues consult these files when they receive calls from people who wish to check out the homes or site locations of some of the artists and their creations.
travel Bluestem Quarry and Stoneworks, 5010 Kansas 232 Jon Pancost, of Bluestem Quarry and Stoneworks, recently purchased the old lumberyard a block west of Main Street in Lucas to make native limestone creations. The space now houses a stoneworks shop, as well as antiques, art and stonework for sale. Pancost specializes in stonecutting using traditional methods. “Plug and feathers is an ancient form of forcing a cleft in the stone by physical force through shims and wedge,” Pancost says. “We continue to do it this way because it is
more accurate and in some ways easier than hydraulic snap cutters. We also hand-chisel all of our architectural stone to emulate the old style.” A resident sculptor at the shop can create just about any form desired. Smaller architectural features like benches and tables can also be purchased by special order, Pancost says. Be sure to save time for a leisurely drive around Lucas to see yard art and other homemade creations. Lucas is the perfect place to explore and wonder, “What might I create?”
Other things to see while in Lucas: Brant’s Meat Market 125 S. Main St. Doug Brant is the third-generation proprietor of this made-from-scratch meat market. The Brants have been making homemade Czech bologna and other smoked meats from family recipes for more than 93 years. Even the wood used to smoke the meats is hand-cut. Doug is happy to give you free samples of his Czech bologna and other smoked meats. (And when you tell Doug he is full of bologna, he takes it as a compliment.)
Linda’s Café, 205 S. Main St. This no-frills café serves home-cooked burgers, soups, salads and chicken fried steak, as well as chicken gizzards and livers, and other items. Thursday evenings feature Mexican food. K-18 Café, 5495 Highway 18 This café, known for its fried chicken and pies, is only 200 yards away from the lighted and asphalt runways of the Lucas Airport, making it a great flyin location. It also serves award-winning barbecue year-round on Tuesday evenings and on Tuesday and Saturday nights during the summer.
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March, April, May & June e v e n t s
Reza: Illusionist March 24 C.L. Hoover Opera House
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Royal Bunny Tracs 5k & Kids Rabbit Dash
Pink & Purple Polyester Party
NE Community Park
Houston Street Ballroom
Help scholarship foster kids in the area participate in Royal Family KIDS camps, club and mentoring programs by hitting the pavement. The 16th weeklong summer camp will host 32-36 kids in foster care who get to attend at no cost to them. Proceeds from this event go directly towards paying for the camp facility and supplies—plus there’s an Easter egg hunt! 5k begins at 8 a.m. royalbunnytracs5k.com
Polyester bellbottoms and platform shoes are a must at this benefit for the Johnson Cancer Research Center. Boogie down to the music of a hot Kansas City band, and be entertained by host and radio personality, Dave Lewis. This party celebrates the life of Dave’s late wife, Elena, who died of breast cancer in 2006. Enjoy some hors d’oeuvres, desserts, a photo booth, and tons of games. Help Kansas State University fight cancer. Single tickets are $60. Contact the center at 785-532-6705.
Called the “Nation’s Top Touring Illusionist” by critics, Reza has sold out venues in large cities, entertaining millions live, as well as on television and radio. Once a youth magician prodigy, he is now one of the fastest rising stars in the industry. Reza aims to change the world’s perception of magic making personal connections with his many audiences. Begins at 7:30 p.m. jcoperahouse.org
Earth Day—Party for the Planet April 18 The Sunset Zoo No better way to celebrate the natural world than to head to a zoo full of animals and family-friendly activities provided by the Sunset Zoo. Begins at noon. www.sunsetzoo.com
Free State Festival: Best of the Fest Screening March 26 Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art View award-winning short films from the Lawrence Arts Center’s Free State Festival, a weeklong celebration of film, music, art and ideas. The film lineup includes Stumped, which was the Best Short Film Award Winner, and Somewhere Between Freedom and Protection, which received the Audience Award. Begins at 7 p.m. beach.ksu.edu
Spring Music Festival April 7-29 Manhattan Town Center Kids in grades K-12 are invited to perform live onstage during the Spring Music Festival on Tuesday nights, April 7, 14 and 21. Performers compete for more than $1000 in prizes in vocal, instrumental and dance categories. The finals are on April 28 and 29. manhattantowncenter.com
25th Annual Yard Art Classics Car Club
Bill Snyder Highway Half and 5k May 23 Bill Snyder Highway (177) and Bill Snyder Family Stadium It’s time for Manhattan’s first and only half marathon, the Bill Snyder Highway Half and 5K. Not only will it be a great opportunity to get active at a fun event, but it’s also an opportunity to give back to the community. This year, Coach Snyder has selected the Homecare and Hospice of Manhattan as the recipient of the proceeds. manhattanrunningco.com
11th Annual Garden Gala June 5
Manhattan City Park
Stroll through the Kansas State gardens while enjoying a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. Bid on a few items in the silent auction, and dance the evening away with music provided by Dueling Pianos Plus (back by popular demand). It’s hard to imagine a more perfect summer night. Begins at 6:30 p.m. found.ksu.edu
Get ready for a fun-filled day of antiques, classics, collectibles and chrome beauties. The car show begins at 9 a.m., Arts in the Park begins at 1:30 p.m., with the Thundering Cats Big Band kicking off the music. Fiftiesstyle doo-wop group Street Side and
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Manhattan High School choirs cap off the night. 785-539-4078
Her Legacy: Katie's Way brings hope and a new mental-health facility to kids and young adults in Manhattan.