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“It ’s good food and sharing our culture. It ’s the vibra ncy s r a o l n o o d c f d e s i g n. It ’s

liv

.” ing

The regalia, food, drums, dances, sights and sounds of the annual

Prairie Band

Potawatomi Powwow. spring ’16 | topekamag.com | $5


spring

2016 vol 10 no. 2

from the

editor

easter memories ...

Henry G. and Melissa G. stand with Easter symbols (and no embarrassing brightorange outfits). Editor Nathan Pettengill designer/Art Director

Jenni Leiste

COPY EDITOR

Leslie Andres

advertising Teresa Johnson-Lewis representative (785) 832-7109

Ad Designer

Jenni Leiste

contributing Katie Moore Photographers Bill Stephens Contributing Writers

Linda A. Ditch Carolyn Kaberline Katie Moore Christine Steinkuehler Barbara Waterman-Peters Meta Newell West

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Topeka Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016

I think Linda Ditch’s story in this issue about family Easter traditions raises an important point—the best things in life require little hype or promotion. That thought, I suppose, might seem strange coming from us since our magazine is dedicated to sharing information about the city and promoting what we find to be the best aspects of it. We make little apology for that. In fact, we are honored to be able to explore the city, learn about it, photograph it and send our interpretation of it back into Topeka, printed with love and respect. Hype? Maybe, but I would rather think of it as drawing attention to things, people, events that we, too, enjoy and appreciate. After all, if something is promoted, then it should be fundamentally good. Otherwise, publicity only points out its hollow nature. Easter is the opposite of that. It is an important holiday that is relatively without hype or commercialization. Perhaps that is because, at its root, Easter is the most holy day in the Christian calendar—a commemoration of somber death followed by new hope. But even for those who do not observe it as a religious holiday, Easter marks a traditional beginning of spring in the calendar. It offers a chance for families to gather and not just share—but create—their own traditions. Certainly, people buy candy and new clothes for children, so there are some expenditures. But even those are inherently family oriented. As I recall, I paraded around for a few Easters in the mid-1970s in a neon-orange childsized polyester dress suit certainly not for my own enjoyment, but to lend some glamor and brilliance to the family’s Easter gathering. Modesty aside, I was the must-have photo accessory for my aunts and grandparents. (OK, my sister looked pretty cute, too. And she had those pigtails and bows, which elicited all types of admiring remarks. Good thing she was there to wear them; I drew the line at questionable suit colors.) Decades later, there I am (standing alongside Ms. Pigtail Princess), still preserved in the family photo albums, sporting those same ridiculous Kodachrome orange threads, flashing a smile with a few teeth missing and looking forward to the day. What was bought for our Easter baskets, I can’t recall, though I know it must have been incredibly important to me at the time. I do, however, distinctly remember the feelings from that day, shared with people who are no longer here. There was warmth, love and family … all those things you can’t hype or purchase. Hope your coming spring is filled with them all. - Nathan Pettengill Editor


what's inside

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SUNFLOWER PUBLISHING

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645 New Hampshire Street Lawrence, KS 66044

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on THE cover

A dancer at Prairie Band Potawatomie Powwow shows off her regalia and traditional braid. Photograph by Katie Moore

.” ing

The regalia, food, drums, dances, sights and sounds of the annual

Prairie Band

Potawatomi Powwow.

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liv

spring 2016

spring ‘16 | topekamag.com | $5

features

48 The Prairie Band Powwow

A small gathering has grown into one of the region’s biggest powwows, open to competitors and public alike as a celebration of Native life

56 Rescue Noses

When frightened dogs go missing, Stephanie Avila’s scent dogs go searching

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016

topekans

10

Artist of the Month

A recap of our most recent picks to honor the city’s art community

22

26

Nancy’s Back!

A favorite daughter of Topeka and one of the state’s most beloved national political figures, Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker returns to Kansas

locale

Prairie Bass

Bronze artist Jim Bass casts monuments to ordinary life

16

Not-So-Sunny, But Still a Delight

When Nature threw shade, a Topeka couple made the best of it for their garden

appetite

32

The Taste of Easter Memories

A heritage pie recipe brings back the anticipation and joy of family Easter traditions

i n ev e ry issu e :

what’s happening

40


JAYHAWK AREA AGENCY ON AGING

topeka talk

ANNuAl EdItION 2015-2016

r e l e a s e d

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t h e

n

w i n t e r

o f

2 0 1 5

a . d .

A Top eka Alm anac c

&

d a i ly n o t i c e s i m p o r ta n t, amusing , unusual

of history history of

!

poignant events from our c i t y ’ s pa s t.

viva bob!

c

Ranging across the years from time immemorial to the present,

@ particular emphasis on the mid-1800s * the early 2000s,

b

featuring railroads, floods, educators, agitators, business leaders, doctors, bicyclists, immigrants, preachers, politicians, public servants, suffragettes, soldiers, builders, developers, dreamers,

Elvis impErsonator

schemers, dandies, athletes, an axe-wielding teetotaler,

bob Lockwood

a russian prince, the King …

s all all of of Topeka Topeka s

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7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

7 7 7

BLOOMING A second

WWII THROUGH A CHILD’S EYE

through life

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

t o p e k a m a g . c o m

s

m at e r i a l fo r t h e p r i c e o f 5 0 0 c e n t s .

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shakEs it up for good causEs

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w l ava i l a b l e f r o m p u r v e yo r s o f f i n e r e a d i n g

seven questions with ...

We are working on bigger events—people want that. We will see more and more of those bigger events for the future. People will say: “Let’s go to Downtown, because we know something is happening.” That is what young professionals are looking for. That benefits the entire community.

r e l e a s e d

i n

t h e

n

w i n t e r

o f

2 0 1 5

a . d .

A Topeka Almanac c

&

d a i ly n o t i c e s i m p o r ta n t, amusing , unusual

of history history of

!

poignant events from our c i t y ’ s pa s t.

c

Ranging across the years from time immemorial to the present,

@ particular emphasis on the mid-1800s * the early 2000s,

b

featuring railroads, floods, educators, agitators, business leaders, doctors, bicyclists, immigrants, preachers, politicians, public servants, suffragettes, soldiers, builders, developers, dreamers, schemers, dandies, athletes, an axe-wielding teetotaler,

a russian prince, the King …

s all all of of Topeka Topeka s

t o p e k a m a g . c o m

_g@

s 7 7 7

7 7 7

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

m at e r i a l fo r t h e p r i c e o f 5 0 0 c e n t s .

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w l ava i l a b l e f r o m p u r v e yo r s o f f i n e r e a d i n g

s

Vince Frye, speaking about Downtown Topeka

Almanac

r

“Seven Questions with …” is our ongoing series of online conversations with the city’s business and professional leaders. We recently sat down with Vince Frye, president and CEO of Downtown Topeka, and his colleague Edie Smith, marketing and communications director of Downtown Topeka. Here are some excerpts from our talk.

We hope you enjoyed our previous edition, a special daily almanac of Topeka history. We’re continuing thisday-in-Topeka-history updates online. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for additional entries, discussions and more. JAYHAWK

Topeka Senior

AREA AGENCY ON AGING

ANNuAl EdItION 2015-2016

viva bob! Elvis impErsonator

bob Lockwood shakEs it up for good causEs

BLOOMING A second

WWII THROUGH A CHILD’S EYE

Edie Smith, speaking about career advice for young professionals Engage in the community in the every possible way you can. It will connect you to people who may be your potential employer, but it also invests you in the community and gives you ownership. See the full interview online and please let us know if you have an idea for someone whom we should feature in an upcoming round of “Seven Questions with …”

we want to hear from you

through life

Look for our Topeka Senior magazine coming out this summer. Formerly titled JAAA SR, the publication focuses on stories and resources relevant for residents 60 years and older. next edition ...

What’s big, burly and wears a plaid kilt? Our summer feature, of course! Look for our story on the Highland Games Festival and other features when the summer edition releases in the first week of June. topekamagazine@sunflowerpub.com

facebook.com/topekamag

@TopekaMagazine

Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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Departments

10 artist of the m onth

16 Not- So-Sunn y, Bu t Still a Delight

22 Prairie Bass

26 Nancy’s Back!

32 Th e Taste of Easter Memories

40 what’s h appening ...

The Ladle, palladium print by Greg Nelson

Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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Story by

Photography by

Barbara Waterman-Peters and Nathan Pettengill

Bill Stephens

ABOUT THE WRITER

artist of the

month A recap of our most recent picks to honor the city’s art community

topekans

Greg Nelson’s photographs include Stoneman, Bent’s Fort (above) and No Parking (opposite left). Nelson poses for a photograph on his 5x7 camera (opposite right).

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


Barbara Waterman-Peters writes, paints, exhibits, teaches and manages Studio 831 in the North Topeka Arts District (NOTO).

Topeka Magazine’s Artist of the Month for February

greg nelson

G

reg Nelson says he was always interested in art but discovered photography late in his teenage years after watching a friend develop prints in a darkroom. He created his own series of images with an inexpensive Rolleiflexmanufactured 35mm that he received as a high school graduation gift. The next stage of Nelson’s life was busy with studies, first at Kansas State University and then at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Nevertheless, he continued photography with starts and stops and accessed darkrooms when he had the chance, such as the time he volunteered to take photographs for KU’s revived medical school yearbook.

You need to understand the light, shadow, filter and film, thinking all the way to the print. – Greg Nelson After opening his medical practice in Dodge City, Nelson finally had the time and ability to create his own darkroom, providing him freedom to grow in his art. “I could develop my own photographs to express what I wanted to express rather than rely on them to create my work,” says Nelson. As he studied the black-and-white photography of Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock and John Sexton, Nelson continued to develop his own style, shaped in part by a vintage (circa 1900) large-format Poco 5x7 camera that he purchased at an auction and continues to use. “Some of my best pictures have been taken with it,” says Nelson. “Working with those big cameras, you just can’t

work fast. You have to have thought out the photographs well ahead of time—the composition, the light and even what you will be doing in the darkroom— before you even pull the camera out of the bag.” Mastering the technical aspects of his camera allowed Nelson to concentrate on the artistic side of his work, particularly as he specialized in creating palladium prints—a type of print developed in the mid1850s that can create images both physically durable and rich in tonal range. “For me it is the joy of working with chemicals in the darkroom, translating the technical into a work of art,” says Nelson. “You need to understand the light, shadow, filter and film, thinking all the way to the print. It takes your breath away to see the print you’ve produced.” Nelson credits his membership in the now-closed Collective Art Gallery for helping him in “thinking differently about what to photograph” and for becoming better in using his camera to “pull out the dramatic and artistic image.” Nelson’s development as an artist has also been shaped by his career as a physician and medical director at the not-for-profit Midland Care clinic. “In palliative care, I have to pull away from the technical aspects of medicine and focus on the caring and emotional aspects,” says Nelson. “This is true for photography.” Indeed, Nelson’s photography expresses a timeless spirituality that provides a respite from daily concerns. It is a series of work that is both technically mastered and artistically alive. —Barbara Waterman-Peters


Topeka Magazine’s Artist of the Month for January

kathy koch

Kathy Koch wraps herself in her award-winning “Friendship Garden” quilt.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


Like many quilters, Kathy Koch first encountered her art at the school of grandma. To be more precise, in Koch’s case it was the school of grandma and greatgrandma, as the two would work at their home in Greenleaf, Kansas, to create quilts for the Lutheran World Relief that would then be shipped to needy families across the globe. Sometimes the two quilting matriarchs allowed young Kathy to contribute a few stitches. “I’m sure they ripped them out after I finished,” recalls Koch, “but I thought I was quilting.” That was all the quilting Koch did for many decades. After all, in the ensuing years she had a family to raise and a teaching career in the Seaman school district to occupy her time. It wasn’t until 1995 that Koch returned to her grandmother’s craft, taking a workshop and joining the Kansas Quilt Guild.

“I want them to enjoy the quilt. They know me and they know I’ve done it with love.” – Kathy Koch Her first quilt, appropriately enough, was a “Grandmother’s Fan” pattern with a traditional applique and embroidery in a color scheme of pastels and a white background that would have been familiar to her own grandma. This quilt started out as a project, but later became a gift for Koch’s daughter—which meant, naturally, that she needed to make a second one for her son. And then a third for herself, a fourth for a dear friend … and then, of course, the grandchildren each required a quilt. One quilt followed another until Koch arrived at a point where she has created some 30 or 40 quilts, including one named “Friendship Garden” that won Best of Show in the 2015 Kansas Capital Quilters Guild gathering. When this prize quilt isn’t on display or being pulled out for a photo-shoot, it resides with Koch’s daughter, where it is put to use on cold nights at the request of its creator. “All quilts that I’ve made and given to people, I tell them the quilts are utilitarian. I want them to enjoy the quilt. They know me and they know I’ve done it with love,” says Koch. Creating with love means knowing what you like, and Koch has developed distinct preferences as she has explored her art. She is not a fan of longarm quilting, where intricate machine stitching can obscure the quilt pattern. She often chooses pastels or earth tones, combinations of color that both flow and contrast at a distance. She will use a machine for quilts that need to be more durable, such as ones for grandchildren, but she prefers to hand stitch, particularly around blocks. And, importantly, she judges a quilt by how well it serves its purpose. “A good quilt should not be too stiff,” says Koch. “It should be comfortable to use.” Koch continues to create bright, comfortable quilts for family members and friends, as well as for veterans’ organizations and children’s advocacy groups (volunteer donations often created as a group with other members of her quilting circle and the Kansas Capital Quilters Guild). Though an award-winning quilter, she says she still wants to improve on her hand-stitching techniques. And, if only she could, she would go back in time to the farmhouse in Greenleaf and spend just a few more days learning at the school of grandma. “I don’t know how she did it,” says Koch of her grandmother’s artistic and almost-invisible stitches. “They were so beautiful.” —Nathan Pettengill


Pam Renovato Topeka Magazine’s Artist of the Month for December

Pam Renovato, in her NOTO studio, shows her recent work in stone sculpture (above) and digital media, (opposite).

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


An artist of her time, Pam Renovato uses her computer to create works that are stunningly complex and capable of projecting warmth and depth. Some of these works begin with a photograph while others are based on fractal images. Renovato’s love of science, math and the pursuit of solutions figures prominently in her creations. Renovato began her art career as a traditional painter at Kansas State University. She studied drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking and graphic design. She eventually chose to concentrate on graphic design, thanks to the influence of great teachers and also to one unfortunate incident, the theft of all her art supplies, which left her unable to paint and forced her – Pam Renovato to devote time to other studies. Fortunately, her new field was virtually theft-proof. “Back then, graphic design started with a pencil and ruler,” Renovato says, smiling. Now, with detours through Manhattan, Junction City and El Paso, Renovato has returned to Topeka. Here, she creates digitally and has expanded into web design and development, a field she describes as being similar to creating art. She has also branched into stone sculpture at her studio in NOTO, demonstrating a talent across media that seems to come naturally. “I was born an artist,” Renovato says, “and have never gone a day without art.”

“I was born an artist and have never gone a day without art.”

—Barbara Waterman-Peters Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

15


Story by

Photography by

Christine Steinkuehler

Katie Moore

ABOUT THE WRITER

Christine Steinkuehler is a Topeka public school teacher who writes—and gardens—from her home in Potwin.

Not-So-Sunny,

But Still a Delight When Nature threw shade, a Topeka couple made the best of it for their garden

Locale

Lois Robertson must still water her rock and shade garden, but not too frequently nor for a long time.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


G

limpses of hostas and ferns greet passersby on an evening stroll past the Robertson home in the Potwin neighborhood of Topeka. Sprawling underneath the shade of mature oak trees and lapping up against a Victorian wrap-around porch with intricate gingerbread and turret, the Robertson garden appears cool and refreshing with an air of mystery. The Robertsons—Lois, a former kindergarten teacher in the Shawnee Heights district, and Jim, a former state employee—both retired several years ago, allowing them to spend time working in the garden and relaxing on the porch. But they have been cultivating this garden since they moved into their Queen Anne-style home on their anniversary, July 8, 33 years ago. Rich with history, their home is one of five in Potwin built by late-1800s developer Martin Gobrecht. Previous owners include Charles and Florence Menninger, who raised their three sons, Karl, Will and Edwin here. Lois and Jim Robertson describe the home’s garden as “rustic country style,” in the best traditions of southern Kansas, post-Depression heritage. “Once something inside became no longer useful or broken, it became yard art. We planted something in it or on it,” says Lois of her family’s approach Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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to gardening. “Plants and rust just seem to grow together.” Many of these items, such as the sections of an old fence that once surrounded the yard, have been—with a little work from Jim—repurposed and used to create trellises around a brick patio. The space now contains a kettle, a washboard, and other objects placed throughout the garden that are mementos of the couple’s family farms and a link between the present and the past. As for the plants, the challenge of growing a garden under many mature trees and lots of dry shade has led the Robertsons to experiment by trial and error. Early on, they tried lots of new hybrid varieties of plants, many from out-ofstate and marginally hardy, but discovered that despite the Potwin neighborhood’s rich soil and sheltered location those plants were rarely successful. Over time, the Robertsons returned to old-time regional favorites such as lilies, roses, iris, peonies and ferns supplemented with annual geraniums and impatiens, which flower throughout the season.

“If grass is not doing well, we rock the area in.” – Lois Robertson

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Through the years, the garden has evolved into a beautiful tapestry of colors and textures. By repeating the use of plants such as hostas, ferns and astilbes in each of the different areas, the Robertsons have created continuity between the distinct sections. Ornamental objects are also used to tie the garden into the house and into the period of the house. In the spirit of Victorian-era gardening, the Robertsons have used eclectic collections of rocks, driftwood, moss and other objects brought home from road trips and vacations to weave a personal history into nature. Lois describes it as “a memory trail to remind us of all the fun that we have had.” And what the Robertsons couldn’t bring home, they had shipped to the garden. “After delivering several of these heavy purchases, our postman asked what we were buying,” says Lois. “It was a little embarrassing to tell him he had just delivered an 8-pound chunk of fossilized dinosaur poo!” But even the best of gardens, even a 33-year-old work of imagination and devotion, can be perfected, which is exactly what the Robertsons continue to do. And sometimes, Nature helps in her own way. “One of our goals in the garden is to reduce areas of grass and watering by using rock paths and rock gardens. If grass is not doing well, we rock the areas in,” says Lois. “To our surprise, natural mosses began to grow between the bricks and rocks to help give us the familiar country look we grew up with and love.”


Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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All hail, hostas!

One of the workhorses of shade gardening, hostas come in a wide range of sizes and coloring, growing in almost any kind of soil with minimum maintenance. They do best with slightly acidic soil and an inch or more of water a week. If they are under dense shade from trees such as oaks, they may require more watering to look their best. Hostas are not just a full-shade plant; varieties with lighter foliage will tolerate more sunlight. Darker-leaved varieties that receive more sunlight will lighten in coloring and will tend to crisp up easier. Variegated, gold, and lime varieties do well in partial shade. And though they thrive in shade, hostas are adaptable. If you have to trim a tree or lose shade in a spot where you have hostas, they likely are acclimated to that spot and will do fine there. Hostas reach maturity in 4–8 years. They should be divided every 3–4 years because larger clumps are harder to divide without damaging the crown. You can divide them at any time in the growing season, but spring and fall are easier because of increased rain and lower temperatures. If you divide in summer, you need to be sure to keep the new division well watered. Crown rot is the most common affliction for hostas, but it can be avoided by ensuring that the hostas have good drainage. It is best to fertilize them with a general fertilizer in the spring. All that said, hostas are an elegant, relatively fuss-free addition to any garden.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


Story by

Photography by

Barbara Waterman-Peters

Bill Stephens

ABOUT THE WRITER

Barbara Waterman-Peters writes, paints, exhibits, teaches and manages Studio 831 in the North Topeka Arts District (NOTO).

Prairie

bass topekans

Bronze artist Jim Bass casts monuments to ordinary life

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


A

Although Bass learned from Tefft a variety of methods for crevocabulary of forms, rising out of cubism, has stood sculptor Jim Bass in good stead for a professional ating sculpture, he would develop his own approach as he began career stretching back to the 1950s. His endless variacasting or welding bronze for most of his career. “I do enjoy the process, so I seem to be willing to put in the tions and adaptations have produced a body of unritime,” Bass says. valed work. Jim Bass stands alone—in the Midwest and beyond. And that is a good thing, because casting bronze is extremely Born in Topeka, Bass grew up in a family where his mother demanding and labor intensive with many steps and months of sewed and his father and grandfather worked with wood. His crepreparation from inception to finished sculpture. The actual pourativity seemed to come naturally and he expressed an early interest in art that landed him in the front row for fifth-grade art courses. ing requires several assistants. And a number of pieces are preAt Topeka High School, his instructors included pared in advance so they can be done in a Fayeben Wolfe, who showed him hand-building single pour. in clay and who insisted Bass apply for a college The lost-wax method of bronze castart scholarship. Despite his father’s wish that he ing, a procedure where wax is used to crestudy law at Washburn University, Bass ended ate a mold for the sculpture and then is up at the University of Kansas pursuing com“lost” as it is melted away, has not changed significantly since the Renaissance. But mercial art and, later, industrial design. Such improvements in the quality of materials a major seemed a good fit combining art, engiavailable to sculptors have lead to more neering and business. consistency and fewer failures. “Early on Studying many disciplines and forms of art, – Jim Bass I would lose 3-4 out of 20 pieces,” Bass Bass favored sculpture. During the 1950s and recalls. Now his pieces have a much higher rate of survival. 1960s, he sculpted primarily in wood and stone. One of his later The materials and process, no matter the complexity and stone works, Broken Charm Stone, can be seen on the campus of demands, are only half of the creation of a body of work. UltiWashburn University since it was donated by Topeka businessman Bob Brock. mately, the content and the vision complete the artist’s message But Bass was also drawn to bronze and greatly influenced by and turn raw materials into art. For Jim Bass, the Midwest with Eldon Tefft—the legendary University of Kansas professor and its strong people and rural landscape has provided inspiration for artist who reestablished the “lost-wax” method as the standard many years. bronze-casting technique across the nation. Under Tefft, Bass His sculptures are often embodied in the form of a man, a learned superb craftsmanship and necessary techniques. After woman or a person with a child. The spirit of strength, persevergraduation, Bass returned to Tefft’s studio and assisted his former ance and determination against odds comes through in angular instructor in teaching others. shapes and forms.

“I do enjoy the process.”

The Bass Bronze Look

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, sometimes including other metals and metalloids. Two kinds of bronze fit into Bass’ aesthetic, one is reddish and the other silver. In addition, the smaller- and medium-size works are cast while the larger sections are welded together using bronze plate. Two of Bass’ bronze works include: Seated Family Group (upper left) and Spirit of the Midwest (upper right). Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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Public Space and Home Space in the

Art of Jim Bass

Over a long career, Jim Bass has created many sculptures. The artist’s public commissions can be found in Topeka, Leavenworth and Lincoln, Nebraska, among other locations. His huge (9’ x 13’) work, Celebration of Midwest Family, serves as the focal point for a small city plaza in Leavenworth. Two marvelous gates, Sun Over the Prairie and Window to the Prairie, can be found in a garden space at First Congregational Church in Topeka.

“I feel strongly about 20th-century visual discoveries and have evolved along those lines to challenge the imagination about the prairie, its people and textures,” writes Bass. “The pieces are titled as hints to intent.” In works such as Spirit of the Midwest (1979), a female figure poised on one knee reaches upward. The sense of dynamic movement of the piece almost separates it from its base. The Procession (1989) captures the aura of people celebrating achievements. The monumentality of the grouping far transcends its relatively small scale. Seated Family Group (2011) expresses a rather different mood, one of security and contentment; it is the archetypal family unit. Over the years, Bass has made subtle, interesting changes to the surface treatment of his works. His early work emphasized the beauty of the bronze, playing polished areas against dark, shadowy recesses. The result was subtle with little contrast, but an almost mysterious quality held sway. Eventually, the frontal planes were more highly polished and textures played more of a role. Then color, produced by various chemicals applied to the bronze, added to the richness of the visual experience. Recently, Bass has begun painting some of the small pieces in various areas of a sculpture, resulting in brilliant accents against the silvery bronze. It is the play of the mass of the geometrically articulated bronze and the shimmery textured and colorful passages that keep this work fresh and vibrant. It is a tribute to the artist that he has been able, through his own determination and strength, to continue working in such a demanding medium for so long. Within a limited parameter of forms, the artist has managed to create an infinite number of variations. Most recently, while recovering from knee surgery, Bass has concentrated on drawing. “These are drawings for their own sake,” he explains, “not preparatory drawings for sculpture.” But such an accomplished artist as Bass brings an exciting vision to any medium, including these later-aged drawings. Colorful, energetic, and yet as firmly rooted in cubism as his sculptures, these most recent works on paper represent an exploration into the possibilities of another medium.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016

But one of Bass’ largest works is, in fact, his own house that he shared with his wife and children. Bass married Jean Ison, an accomplished weaver and fiber artist who taught art at Topeka High School for many years. They moved into a farmhouse in southwest Topeka and converted the house, barn and outbuildings into their home and studios. The exterior and interior forms of the house are sculptural, visually intriguing and welcoming. Bass designed and built everything, including the furniture, much of it from reclaimed materials. He jokes that a new recliner is the first “store-bought” piece in the house. In this home Jim and Jean raised their two children, Joren, now an architect, and Jaminda, a designer. And though Jean passed away in 2011, she left a fine legacy of students as well as beautiful art, much of which is displayed along the walls, tables, pedestals and shelves of the house.


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Story by

Photography by

Meta Newell West

Bill Stephens

ABOUT THE WRITER

Meta Newell West is a cooking instructor and writer from Abilene.

Nancy’s

back!

topekans

A favorite daughter of Topeka and one of the state’s most beloved national political figures, Senator Nancy Landon kassebaum baker returns to Kansas

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Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker dedicated her life to public service.

TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


M

any Kansans know her as Senator Kassebaum. In Tennessee, she is usually referred to as Mrs. Baker. If you add her maiden name to the mix, it becomes Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker. Her preference? “Just call me Nancy,” she says. And “Nancy,” is how she was known for many years in Topeka. Born into a wellknown political family, Nancy was a child during both terms that her dad, Alf Landon, served as governor of Kansas and just a preschooler when he ran for president. “I don’t remember much about any of it,” she says. She does remember growing up in the country, just outside the city limits of Topeka. Despite the gas and war rationing in place at the time, she describes a carefree childhood spent with her best friend and neighbor, Betty, and brother, Jack, “We often hiked about two miles to the Kaw River and played on the sandbars. We walked the rails behind what is now the governor’s mansion,” she recalls. One summer, spurred on by a suggestion from her mother, the neighborhood children spent the better part of their vacation digging what was supposed to become a swimming pool. Despite all their efforts, they ended up with only a muddy hole. Nancy remembers gathering at the dinner table with the family for regular meals and being expected to join in on conversations that ranged from the war and local politics to everyday events. But for the most part, she notes, “It was a carefree time without many pressures and without an abundance of structured activities. We played games and spent lots of time in the woods behind our home. We even picked gooseberries along the bluff of the Kaw River and sold them at the grocery store.” For a couple of years, the young entrepreneurs ran Little Tots Pet Shop. Specializing in raising parakeets and canaries, they also sold snakes and turtles that Jack caught. Although Nancy deemed this early business a success,

she does recall one setback. “The tropical fish we purchased died after being put in bathwater.” Surely this tragedy would have been worthy of coverage in what would become Nancy’s first media venture. Never at a loss for ideas, Nancy and Betty used their budding writing skills to produce and distribute the Weekly News, a one-page newspaper that outlined local happenings. The grade-schoolers also honed their salesmanship skills as they went door to door, selling their hand-typed paper for five cents a copy to the few households in the rural neighborhood. While the subject matter included everyday matters, the one copy Nancy still has includes a humorous reference to OPA, the tokens issued by the Office of Price Administration for rationing such things as gas, tires and certain food items. Nancy, of course, would become more familiar with politics later in her life. Elected as the state’s first female U.S. senator, she served in that role from 1978–1997 and worked in key positions such as the chair of the Senate Labor Committee. She won the respect of colleagues across the aisle and earned the trust of Kansas voters, who returned her to Washington. After she left office, she lived with her husband, Senator Howard Baker, in Tennessee and abroad. A native of the state, Nancy permanently moved back to her Kansas farm in Morris County just about a year ago. “I never felt like I ever really left Kansas. The most I was gone was during the four years Howard was ambassador to Japan,” she says. Even then, the Bakers returned to Kansas each year for several weeks in December and August. During her years as a U.S. senator, she explains, “I was home every month.” When her parents were still alive, she spent weekends with them in Topeka and traveled around the state, speaking to and listening to her constituents. From neighborhood and local matters, to those of national and international importance, Nancy has always been inter-

PROUDEST

ACCOMPLISHMENTs

When asked what she considers her proudest accomplishments in Congress, Nancy specifically mentions the passage of four bills that she sponsored that were eventually written into law. All set important standards, helped individuals in need, provided a boost to the economy, or helped protect the environment. Although she did not mention it, records indicate that Nancy worked tirelessly with others in the Senate to ensure bipartisan support for the passage of these pieces of legislation, as well as many others. 1. Orphan Drug Act of 1983, a law designed to facilitate the development and commercialization of drugs to treat rare diseases (termed orphan drugs) that affect a relatively small population of people. 2. General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) of 1994, which established time limitations on certain civil actions against aircraft manufacturers. 3. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as Kassebaum-Kennedy Act designed to protect health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. 4. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve of 1996, established a unique private/ public partnership between the National Park Service and the private sector that is dedicated to preserving the rich natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.

Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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BUDDING WRITERS The following are excerpts from the Weekly News, produced by grade-schoolers Nancy Landon and Betty Carmean. The publication was distributed in their rural Topeka neighborhood. CHICKEN POX—Jack Landon took down with a bad dose of chicken pox. Nancy Jo was just released Friday. THE OPA—The OPA, the OPA, a cup of coffee, any old day. And drive your car there’s hell to pay, and all because of OPA. FARM NEWS—Mr. D. H. Carmean went to Valley Falls Kans. today in the interest of his farm. Mr. Carmean will be back this afternoon.


Clad in jeans and T-shirt, Nancy is definitely at home on her ested in issues. Those she currently considers of vital importance range these days. Although she’s doing her best just to relax and include foreign policy, education and domestic issues such as spend time at home, she admits, “If I feel strongly about somehealth care, changing demographics and climate change. She is thing, I like to get involved.” That’s why she said “yes” when Bob also adamant about the importance of exploring and understandDole invited her to join him at the State Fair to have conversations ing different points of view and adds, “Don’t forget the history. It’s with Kansans last September. It’s also why she agreed to be a preimportant to understand history as you develop your views.” senter at North Central Flint Hills Area Agency of Aging last fall. “I One of the most valuable pieces of advice, one that has served am such a supporter of this agency and all the things a community her well from the days of digging a backyard swimming pool to can do to keep older citizens involved and engaged,” she said. years as a public servant to her current retirement, is simply “Be On a more personal note, Nancy is also prepared! You never know what you spending time in her farm kitchen where may be called upon to do as life changshe enjoys cooking. Lately she’s been thinkes,” Nancy explains. ing about persimmon pudding. “It’s a recipe For Nancy, being prepared means my mother used to make using the persimkeeping up to date and setting aside mons provided from a family friend in Countime each day to read—The Econocil Grove.” These days it’s hard to find permist, The Wall Street Journal, and a simmons in Kansas. However, beef is readily local paper. She also watches television available since she lives on a cattle farm run news programs and is a fan of PBS, as by her son Bill. Definitely a red meat fan, well as the sports channels. – Nancy Landon Baker she contends, “You can’t live in this part of Although she is very aware of the

“You never know what you may be called upon to do as life changes. ”

role social media plays in today’s world, she admits she much prefers face-to-face conversations. “I am a firm believer in the give and take of an actual conversation.” She believes social media has become so predominant that tweets and soundbites sometimes dictate policy. “It’s a problem when social media takes the place of real leadership,” she insists.

the country without eating beef.” Steak salad is a recipe that is frequently on the menu and one that she shares with friends. During her lifetime, Nancy has shared much with her fellow Kansans, but maybe one of the best things she continues to share, as mentioned in an article written by Daniel L. Reeder that appeared in the 1983 Kansas Alumni magazine is “a smile as wide as the Kansas prairie.”


Flint Hills Beef Salad Preparation Time: Approximately 30 minutes

feeds: 6-8 people

(Nancy discovered this recipe in a cookbook, Above and Beyond Parsley, from The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, Inc., (August 1992); the recipe is reprinted with permission from the League.) SALAD INGREDIENTS: 2 lbs. boneless sirloin, grilled to medium rare and cubed or sliced 1 head cauliflower separated into small florets 1 head broccoli, separated into small florets ¼ cup milk 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper,

chopped (may substitute grilled corn on the cob, cut from cob) 1 medium red onion, sliced thin ½ cup crumbled bacon, cooked and drained 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

DRESSING INGREDIENTS: ½ cup olive oil 3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon dried tarragon 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions 1. Dressing: Blend olive oil, vinegar, mustard, tarragon and salt in a container. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours. Shake again before tossing with salad. 2. Salad: Combine sirloin, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, red pepper, yellow pepper, onion and bacon in a large bowl. Chill for 1 to 2 hours. 3. To Serve: Toss meat and vegetables with dressing. Toss in Parmesan cheese just before serving. Line plates with a bed of lettuce, placing salad into the center.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


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story by

Photography by

Linda A. Ditch

Katie Moore

The Taste of

Easter Memories

appetite

A heritage pie recipe brings back the anticipation and joy of family Easter traditions

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016

ABOUT THE WRITER

Linda A. Ditch has been a freelance writer for almost two decades. Her love for food dates back to times spent watching her grandmother cook in her farmhouse kitchen.


W

hen I was a child, the official arrival of spring wasn’t the greening of the grass, tender leaves popping out on the trees, or bulbs long buried in the ground releasing their colored flowers. In my young mind, winter’s departure and spring’s presence came with Easter. We greeted the holiday with almost as much enthusiasm as we celebrated Christmas. First came shopping with Mom for a special outfit to wear to church. Back in the 1960s, this meant a dress in spring colors and accessorized with a hat, new white shoes, and occasionally white gloves. We bought other seasonal clothes on those trips, but they were practical ones, forgotten and overshadowed by the allure of the special Easter clothes we would wear for at least one special day.

“We greeted the holiday with almost as much enthusiasm as we celebrated Christmas. ” Harrison P. (above left) and Tobias P. (above right) model their upcoming Easter fashion. New clothes and traditional food remain distinct childhood memories for writer Linda Ditch (top right, in floral dress).

– Linda Ditch, on childhood Easter traditions Next came a trip to my maternal grandparents’ farmhouse for the holiday weekend. My sister and I would sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room, with Mamaw and Papaw Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

33


Fresh faces and new clothes mark the Easter holiday for Harrison P. and Malia P. (top left), Lacy M. and Samuel B. (bottom left), Trinity P., Samuel B. and AllieZandra B. (right)

sleeping in one bedroom and Mom and Dad in the other. During the night, the large brown gas stove would occasionally roar to life, bringing heat to ease a nighttime chill—someone had forgotten to tell the weather that Easter was arriving. The noise and orange glow were frightening at first but, after time, comforted a child who was too excited to go to sleep and kept listening for the hop, hop, hop of The Bunny’s arrival. But anything The Bunny brought during the night would have to be discovered later. Easter Sunday began before dawn. It was our tradition to attend sunrise services at my grandparents’ small country church. Worshipers gathered together and watched the sun start to filter through the stained-glass windows while singing familiar hymns, reading familiar Scripture, and listening to the triumphant sermon. Once we returned to the farm, the hunt was on for The Bunny’s treasure. Mamaw and Mom would get busy in the kitchen preparing the noontime holiday dinner. A roast was tucked in the oven to turn brown and tender. Mamaw would peel potatoes, often giving me a slice of the crispy white interior to munch on. Jars of home-canned green beans were brought up from the cellar and put on to cook with pieces of bacon. As

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dinnertime approached, someone would always exclaim, “Whoops! We almost forgot to bake the rolls!” Mamaw’s country dinners were always delicious (and the rolls always arrived just in time), but what everyone most anticipated was the dessert. Her chocolate meringue pie made an appearance at every holiday meal. It was mandatory. The meal wasn’t officially a celebration until the pie made it to the table. Each of the pie’s components was made from scratch. The crust was brown and flaky, the chocolate filling rich and creamy, and the meringue topping light, fluffy and golden brown. Mamaw never used a mixer to make the meringue. Instead, she put the egg whites into her deep-blue, Depression-glass bowl, and whisked them until light and airy with a flat metal whisk full of holes. Everyone knew the rapid ting, ting sound of metal against glass meant she was making meringue. I remember Mamaw’s pies being perfect, but my memory may be clouded by love and admiration. Today, my Easter pies never seem to turn out as perfect as hers. Still, I make them and remember her kitchen and the holiday in colorful images muted only slightly by time. (See story recipe on p. 36)


Mamaw’s Chocolate Meringue Pie Preparation Time: Approximately 3 hours ingredients 1 9-inch pie shell, baked until golden brown For the meringue: 3 large egg whites, room temperature 1/4 tsp cream of tartar 6 Tbs sugar

feeds: 6-8 people For the filling: 3/4 cup sugar 5 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbs cornstarch 1/4 tsp salt 2 cups whole milk 3 large egg yolks, beaten 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions 1) Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in a large bowl. With the mixer on medium-high, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating while slowing adding sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks. Set aside. 2) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 3) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Whisk together. Slowly whisk in the milk. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, and then pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining filling. Return to the heat and bring to just a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 4) Pour the hot filling into the prepared pie crust. Spoon the meringue over the hot filling, making sure to spread it out so it adheres to the edge of the crust. Create swirls with the back of a spoon. 5) Place the pie in the oven and bake until the meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016


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19

First Friday

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GOR

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12

artwalk map

21 11 14 20 9 15 7 10 8 3

& shopping guide

noto/north topeka

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downtown topeka Topeka Community Foundation

TOPEKA! 6 5

11 17

20 16 9 5

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6TH

GAGE BLVD

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4 Girls’ Garage | 837 N Kansas aMUSEd Gallery | 115 NW Laurent Ballet Folklorico | 814 N Kansas Curiosity | 1209 N Kansas The Eclective | 900 N Kansas Generations Antiques | 918 N Kansas Kaw River Rustics | 901 N Kansas Matryoshka Tattoo | 902 N Kansas NOTO Arts Center | 935 N Kansas NOTO ArtsPlace | 905 N Kansas The Open Window | 927 N Kansas Portico | 802 N Kansas Rewind Antiques | 840 N Kansas Robuck Jewelers | 845 N Kansas Rusty Haggles Antiques | 826 N Kansas Stonewall Gallery | 826 N Kansas Studio 831 | 831 N Kansas Two Days Monthly Market | 829 N Kansas Two Wolves Studio & Den | 837 1/2 N Kansas Vintage Vibe | 833 N Kansas Yeldarb Gallery | 909 N Kansas

3

DOWNTOWN SECTION

1

Absolute Design | 629 S Kansas Boho Mojo | 631 S Kansas Capitol Federal | 700 S Kansas Cashmere Popcorn | 728 S Kansas Constitution Hall | 429 S Kansas Creative Corners Gallery & Gifts | 115 SE 6th Dillon House | 404 SW 9th H&R Block | 726 S Kansas Kelly Gerhard, American Family | 119 SW 6th The Merchant | 913 S Kansas

complete exhibit information at artscon


DOWNTOWN SECTION


WHAT’S

88

piano keys,

A 5k race

just waiting for

Anastasia

for a 10-week fitness program


HAPPENING

Ru ss ian

st rin gm us ici an s

In the following pages, we’ve selected one feature event and 10 recommended events for the upcoming 3 months. In these events, you’ll find …

&

50 Stars 13 Stripes honoring our nation’s veterans

A 50-year anniversary music commemoration of the 1966 tornado teams and 1,000s of ways to bust your bracket

64 Topeka …

Some

400

varieties of rose blooms

it’s just 1 city with all THIS going on!

A 1970s

disco classic, polyester wear optional

Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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WHAT’S HAPPENING

Topeka Magazine’s 10 Recommendations for march

03/11

march Featured Event:

THE AMERICAN PLAINS ARTISTS SIGNATURE SHOW March 4 southwind gallery 3074 SW 29 Street

SouthWind Gallery hosts a collection of original art depicting the American Great Plains. The collection of 67 paintings and sculptures by 27 artists presents the professional society’s mission of depicting the American Plains as a source of artistic expression for traditional forms of art with realistic renderings. Think styles of Remington rather than Warhol. The event opens on March 4 with a grand gallery reception at 3074 SW 29 Street and runs daily until April 23. Show chair Judy McElroy notes that this is the first time her national organization has held a signature show in Kansas. For more information, including updated gallery hours, go online at southwindartgallery.com.

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TOPEKA MAGAZINE | Spring 2016

03/18

March 3 | Kim Gronniger, TM contributor and Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce vice president of marketing, leads a discussion on the book Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace. | Part of the “Those Who Lead, Read” series sponsored by Washburn University and held at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library | Open to public, 7-8:30 p.m. March 11 | Concert by Van Cliburn piano contest winner Anastasia Dedik | Part of the Topeka Community Concert Association performances at Washburn University’s White Concert Hall | For ticket reservations and more information, go online at topekacca.org. March 11-13 | Topeka Home Show | The annual showcase of new amenities, building techniques and home comforts | Held at the Exhibition Hall and sponsored by the Topeka Home Builders Association | For more information, go online at thbawildapricot.org. March 12 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Events | Downtown Topeka | Festivities begin with the Fun Run at 9 a.m., followed by

the annual charity bed race at 10 a.m. and then the main event—the downtown parade at noon. | For registration information or to see the full parade route, go online at topekastpats.com. March 12 | Second City | Chicago’s renowned comedy troupe appears onstage at Topeka Center for the Performing Arts. | For more information and ticket reservation, go online at tpactix.org. March 12-20 | Gage Park Mini-Train and Carousel Spring Break Runs | Two of the city’s favorite family attractions open the warm weather season with a special run, weather permitting, from 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. | Tickets cost $1.50 for riders of all ages on either attraction. March 13-17 | City-wide NCAA Bracket | Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library | Stop by the library and fill out your basketball tournament bracket, enabling you to take on all of Topeka for a chance to have your name added to the library’s plaque of champions. March 15 | Opening of retrospective exhibition to honor the life and art of Glenda Taylor | Washburn

University honors the work of its late, beloved faculty member and nationally acclaimed ceramics artist. | Exhibit runs through May 14, with special opening reception on the evening of March 19. | For more information, go online at Washburn.edu/Mulvane. March 18 | Opening of retrospective exhibition featuring work of Marydorsey Wanless | Showing includes highlights of the photographic art career of the former Washburn University faculty member include works examining themes such as the Kansas landscape and aging. | Exhibit runs through June 5, with a special reception jointly with the Taylor exhibition (see previous entry) on March 19. | For more information, go online at Washburn.edu/ Mulvane. March 19 | Topeka Symphony Orchestra presents a special concert featuring the music of Beethoven and Britten and focusing on the 50th anniversary of the devastating Topeka Tornado. | For more concert information or ticket reservations, go online at topekasymphony.org.

Photography credit: American Plains Artists, Anastasia Dedik and Jason Dailey


WHAT’S HAPPENING

Topeka Magazine’s 10 Recommendations for April

04/15

april Featured Event:

ANDY MCKEE HOMETOWN CONCERT april 12 Washburn University’s White Concert Hall

Andy McKee has been spending a lot of time on the road and in the air building up his global base of fans. This spring, the acclaimed acoustic guitarist will be wrapping a European tour with stops in Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland before returning to Topeka. And that’s where we get lucky. On April 12, McKee gives a rare hometown concert, wrapping up the Topeka Community Concert Association’s season at Washburn University’s White Concert Hall. After this performance, McKee is back on the road with engagements through the fall in Texas, California, New York and Canada. Take advantage of this increasingly rare opportunity to hear a live performance of McKee’s signature two-handed acoustic technique and his continually evolving repertoire. For tickets and more information, go online at topekacca.org or andymckee.com.

April 5 | Musical Saturday Night Fever | A disco-era classic hits the stage of the Topeka Performing Arts Center for one groovy night only. | For ticket reservations or more information, go online at tpactix.org. April 8 | Tulip Time Opens | Mother Nature decides exactly when, but this day marks the approximate opening of tulip season with approximately 100,000 blooms appearing across Lake Shawnee Park, Gage Park and Old Prairie Town | For more information, call the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department at (785) 251-2600. April 9 | Couture for Cancer | Annual fundraiser by the American Cancer Society featuring drinks, live auctions and a runway show honoring cancer survivors. | For ticket reservations or more information, contact the American Cancer Society in Topeka at (785) 273-4462.

04/28

April 9 | Opening of Downtown Topeka Farmers Market | The city’s largest farmers’ market begins its April-November season, running from 7:30 a.m. to noon. | For a full list of vendors and information, go online at downtowntopeka farmersmarket.com.

| For registration or more information, go online at downtowntopekainc.com. April 23 | Requiem | The Topeka Symphony Orchestra closes out its season with the showpiece performance of Verdi’s Requiem. A joint performance with the Washburn University Choir and the Topeka Festival Singers. | For tickets or more information, go online at topekasymphony.org.

April 10 | Jazz from KC | Hear two Kansas City Jazz legends, David Basse and Joe Cartwright, in a free concert at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. | Part of the library’s “Music for a Sunday Afternoon” series of free concerts. For more information, go online at tscpl.org.

April 28 | Blue Man Group | The globally popular performance group arrives for one night in Topeka. | For ticket reservations or more information, go online at tpactix.org.

April 15-30 | Much Ado About Nothing | Shakespeare classic runs on the main stage of the Topeka Civic Theatre | For tickets or more information, go online at topekacivictheatre.com. April 23 | Bridge2Bridge 5k | A run/walk through Topeka’s urban landscape.

Photography credit: Jason Dailey, Nathan Ham Photography and Blue Man Group (Topeka sponsor Schwerdt Design).

April 30 | Children’s Day Performances | Culturally authentic Navajo, Mexican and Indian dances are performed in the Marvin Auditorium of Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. | For more information, go online at tscpl.org.

Spring 2016 | TOPEKA MAGAZINE

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WHAT’S HAPPENING

Topeka Magazine’s 10 Recommendations for May

05/01

05/08

May 1 | Classical guitar concert | Peter Fletcher performs in a free concert from 3-4 p.m. at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library as part of the “Music for a Sunday Afternoon” series. | For more information, go online at tscpl.org.

may Featured Event:

REINISCH ROSE GARDEN They are not trying to sell you anything. They won’t demand anything of you. The more than 400 varieties of roses at Gage Park’s historic Reinisch Rose Garden are simply there to enjoy. And though the park is open yearround, it is late in May when the first group of roses open in peak bloom, sharing their beauty and scent with anyone who wishes to join them. Come often or at various times of the day to see the different varieties and to simply rest for a few minutes. After all, sometimes the best attractions are free.

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May 1 and 5-7 | Bonnie and Clyde | Topeka Civic Theatre presents the final week of the drama based on the Depression-era outlaw couple. | For tickets or more information, go online at topekacivictheatre.com. May 7 | Sock Hop for Equality | This annual, free retro-dance tradition at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site features big band sounds and professional dancers. Socks a must. Poodle skirts optional. | For more information, go online at nps.gov/brvb. May 8 | St Petersburg String Quartet | This musical performance and special Mother’s Day champagne

reception is part of Grace Episcopal Cathedral’s Great Spaces concert series. | For tickets or more information, go online at greatspaces.org. May 20-22 | NHRA Kansas Nationals | The national Mello Yello drag racing circuit arrives at Heartland Park in Topeka for a weekend of 330mph excitement. | For tickets or more information, go online at nhra.com. May 21 | Eric Nassau concert | Roots guitarist Eric Nassau arrives in Topeka for a performance in the Last Minute Folk series. | For tickets and more information, go online at lastminutefolk.org. May 21 | “Viva, Las Vegas!” Dance | Elvis tribute artist Bob Lockwood leads the annual fundraiser event for Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging’s Guardian Angel Fund. | For tickets, or more information, go online at jhawkaaa.org.

May 21 | Girls on the Run | Topeka YWCA sponsors this 5k run celebrating its young women who have finished a 10-week fitness course. | For registration and more information, go online at ywcaneks.org. May 27-30 | Memorial Day Services | Weekend to honor veterans at Penwell-Gabel Cemetery and Mausoleum with Veterans Tribute Wall opening on May 27 and memorial service with military honor guard at 11 a.m., May 30. | For more information, go online at penwellgabelcemetery.com. May 30 | Massing of the Colors | Ceremony honoring veterans and free lunch for military veterans and their families provided by Grace Hospice. | Held outside the Great Overland Station, lunch begins at 12:30 p.m. and the Massing of the Colors is held at 2 p.m. | For more information, go online at greatoverlandstation.com or call Lorie King at Grace Hospice (785) 228-0400.

Photography credit: Jason Dailey, Nathan Ham Photography and St. Petersburg String Quartet.


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features 48

T he P rair ie Ba n d P o wwo w

56 R e s c u e Noses

47


The Prairie Band

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Na t i v e

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Story by Carolyn Kaberline Photography by Bill Stephens and Katie Moore

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Landri James, a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi nation, waits at the side of the dance arena with other ladies in the 18–35 age group. Soon, drums are heard and the singers begin their song, the cue for James and her group to step into the arena on the beat of the jingle dance. As the dancers begin their motion, they add the final element of the dance from the objects they wear, pieces of metal—once made from tobacco tin lids, but now factory made—that adorn their dresses and provide the “jingle” sound that gives the dance its name. James says many reasons bring her into this dance arena at the annual Prairie Band Potawatomi Powwow.

ious locations to its current spot at 158th and M Road, on the Prairie Band Potawatomie nation’s reservation west of Mayetta, following massive upgrades to the powwow grounds in conjunction with the opening of Harrah’s. Simon notes that in recent years, the nation has purchased a speaker system and added more electricity for an RV park to accommodate powwow guests. The dancers, performers and guests arrive for a variety of reasons, some only for this event and others as part of their journey through a regional powwow circuit. Thunderchild Thomas, who both sings and dances at powwows, says he’s been attending powwows for as long as he can remember. He has seen his interest in powwows change throughout his lifetime “from running around with my friends; to eating my meals with new friends; to competitive contesting in both singing and dancing; to listening and recording new drum groups from across North America; all of these things have been my favorites at times, but currently my favorite is

It’s good food and sharing our culture. It’s the vibrancy of colors and design. It’s living. –Juanita Jessepe “Not only does my culture mean the world to me, but it’s super fun to free-style and compete against some of the best and most gorgeous indigenous women from the U.S. and Canada. I enjoy crafting, dressing up, doing my hair and makeup with my friends.” In addition, James notes that “the food is to die for, and I really enjoy seeing all the different regalia and dance styles from all the different tribal nations. My absolute favorite part would have to be seeing everyone, especially the elders and kids, dancing in celebration of our existence.” The powwow’s own existence as a tradition can be traced back “in some form” to the early 1960s, according to Prairie Band Potawatomie spokesperson Michelle Simon. Through the years, the powwow’s venue has bounced around from var-

watching my children and families’ children dance and sing.” Now, says Thomas, he spends most of his time at the powwow enjoying the company of friends. Potawatomi singer Adrian Hale has been attending powwows since he was a baby and now carries on the tradition of his father, also a singer. “I attend powwows to sing,” he says. “The best thing I like about the powwow is the atmosphere that comes with it: Getting to sing for the people, watching the dancers, being around my loved ones—and of course the food!” “It’s the socialization and fellowship,” agrees Juanita Jessepe as she explains the popularity of the powwow. A Potawatomi tribal member, she has attended powwows since grade school and now competes in the Golden Age category. “It’s good food and sharing our culture. It’s the vibrancy of colors and design. It’s living.” Sharing the culture of their tribes with other tribes and non-Native Americans is a key reason for present day powwows says Simon. But of course, one event, perhaps more than any other, symbolizes a powwow. “It also gives us a chance to dance and get together.”

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More Powwows to Visit in 2016 AIHREA O.N.E. Powwow May 6–7; Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

A free annual event with a celebrated host drum crew that draws some of the Midwest’s top dancers.

Haskell Indian Art Market September 9–11; Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence Open and free event features dances and hundreds of Native-authentic craft vendors.

Shawnee County Allied Tribes Powwow TBA, September, Lake Shawnee, Topeka Now in its 26th year, the hometown event brings together Native nations from the region.

Harvest Moon American Indian Festival TBA, October; Kansas City, Missouri An ambitious festival that has drawn national Native talent such as World Champion Hoop Dancer Tony Duncan and one of the nation’s leading Native hip-hop artists, “Supaman.”

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These dance pictures from the 2015 Prairie Band Potawatomi Powwow represent the more than 30 varieties of competitive dances on display at the event.

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Native Singers: A Pre-Powwow Playlist I saiah S te w a r t , a K ansas - based N ati v e dance r and a r tist , p r o v ides his top listenin g picks f o r N ati v e sin g e r s w ith K ansas connections

Charley Lewis

Kwake Hale

Butchie Eastman

Mo Brings Plenty

Adrian Primeaux

This graduate from Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas is a Paiute/Dine’ nations native who has been singing for many years in the Northern style. He is a part of the Twin Cities singing group The Boyz, whose music can be found online and is played across the powwow circuits.

A member of the Kansas Prairie Band Potawatomi, this singer is one of the many Hale brothers performing across the powwow circuit. “Kwaks” appears with the drum group Champion, whose members are from the Meskwaki nation. You can listen to his music online and will likely find “Kwaks” at a local powwow.

A Haskell student and singer from the Sisseton Dakota nation, Eastman is known for his round-dance love songs on YouTube. Look for his album Butch & Tone: Roundy’s on the Road on iTunes.

An Oglala Lakota living in Kansas City, Mo is an actor and musician who was part of the contemporary Native group Brule’, which has won several Native American Music Awards for their work. Mo is a charismatic public speaker as well. You can check out Brule’ on iTunes.

This Haskell graduate is a Dakota singer who sings traditional NativeAmerican Church songs and contemporary Native music. Both of his styles are featured on SoundCloud, through his account “age_primeaux.”

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In recent years, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Powwow usually hosts representatives from more than 100 different Native nations from all over the United States, and even some from Canada. The dancers compete for cash prizes totaling more than $100,000 and range from those competing in the Tiny Tots division—open to anyone who is just able to walk or move—to those dancing in the Golden Age division for those 60 and over and featuring some dancers in their 80s and 90s. “Sometimes families will sponsor additional competitions called specials,” James adds. “These can be judged like the regular competitions, by the judges handpicking the dancers, tournament bracket style, and/or through crowd applause, depending on the family’s preference.”

Dancers in regular competition are judged on their knowledge of the songs, their footwork and regalia, which is specific to the tribe and dance guidelines; some dancers will incorporate their personal style or items personal to them into their regalia as well. Thomas, who competes in Men’s Northern Traditional dance competition as well as in singing competitions, explains that “in this competition the criteria of champions should consist of type and detail of outfit, rhythm and ability to stay on beat, cultural relevance of outfit, moves and style consistent with host tribes’ values, and physical stamina.” There are also competitions for singing and music. While criteria can vary, Thomas says most singing competitions are judged on general grounds of lead changes, clarity, overall togetherness, beat, pickup, song choice and originality.

“Some of the basic criteria is if the song is appropriate, the pitch of all the singers is matched as well as the beat and overall sound. The powwow singing is done as a group of singers. The competition singing usually requires at least five singers per group,” adds Hale, who belongs to the drum group Little Soldier, which is made up of his four brothers, his son, several cousins and nephews and himself. Hale also notes that the songs he and his group sing have no words. “To me the translation is whatever you make it to be: A feeling you get while singing or hearing these songs or maybe whatever comes to your mind when you hear the songs,” he explains. “When I sing, I sing from the heart and it brings nothing but good feelings within myself.”

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Powwow

Essentials The Prairie Band Potawatomie Powwow is scheduled for

June 10–12 at the

Prairie Band Potawatomie Reservation. Visitors can purchase either one-day admission or weekend passes (last year’s prices were $5 and $10, respectively). In addition to songs and dances, the event offers guests a wide variety of foods, ranging from NativeAmerican staples such as corn soup and Indian tacos to American French fries and hot dogs, Mexican dishes, barbecue chicken legs, pulled pork, cotton candy and more. There are also numerous other vendors offering jewelry, beadwork and metal goods as well as clothes, books and powwow supplies: all vendors selling items not related to food are certified as Native American. As powwow time nears, more information should be available on the nation’s website (pbpindiantribe.com).

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The Prairie Band Potawatomi Powwow brings together noted Native musicians, powwow queens and some of the region’s top Native dancers.


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Ian—Tracking Dog


e u c s er

s e s o N h g i r f n e h W

, g n i s s i m go s g o d d e ten

a’s l i v A e i n a Steph

ng i h c r a e s o y K at i e M o o r e g s g o d t raphy b scen S t o ry a n d

photog

On an overcast spring afternoon, Ian leaps from the car, ready to work. Ian, a nine-year-old German shepherd with abundant energy and smarts, is a tracker of missing dogs, trained for years by owner Stephanie Avila. For this mission, Avila has gathered information about the missing dog, Fonzie, as well as crucial artifacts from Fonzie’s home. Standing next to Ian, Avila offers Ian a small bed that Fonzie had slept in that still bears his smell. Ian buries his face in the “scent article,” imprinting the identity of the lost dog into the thousands of receptors housed in his nose, then looks up and starts off. The rescue mission has begun.

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Verniece—Tracking Dog In-Training


Rescuing dogs is what Ian and Avila do, particularly now that Avila’s two daughters are grown and her energy and free time can be dedicated to the missions. Avila says she finds a sense of freedom scouring fields or wherever the trail may take her and Ian. The work is “pure, uncomplicated, earthy and indelicate,” she explains. The tracking gigs come by way of a Facebook page for lost animals in Topeka and by word-of-mouth. Avila accepts the missions on a volunteer basis, helping owners year-round although she tends to be busiest around the Fourth of July, when dogs are startled by fireworks and run away from noises and homes. Soon, Avila will be able to expand her rescue runs. In addition to Ian, who is semi-retired, three other dogs are now part of Avila’s crew. There is Broghan, a Jack Russell terrier, and Gracie, a blue heeler. These dogs, like Ian, are certified therapy dogs and work with special needs students. Last summer, Avila also adopted Verniece, a bloodhound, a special breed of tracking dog Avila had always wanted to work with. Bloodhounds like Verniece have the ability to distinguish scent about 1,000 times better than a human. Eventually, Verniece will take over for Ian. But first there is training, both for the dog and the person. As Verniece learns the commands, procedures and skills for tracking, Avila learns how to read Verniece’s expressions and to keep up with an energetic dog whom she describes as having “an exquisite nose for mayhem.” Tracking demands astute skills from the human-canine team. Placing owner’s items around the area where a dog has escaped to draw them back in, or knowing which way the wind was blowing at the time a dog went missing (since dogs typically run into the wind) are two search tactics. Another major component comes from the community—accurately reported sightings and support in a search can make or break a case. Avila has been involved with dog tracking since she was a student at Washburn University and worked at a vet’s office. She went on to earn a graduate degree in school psychology from the University of Kansas and has been a school psychologist for the 501 district for more than 20 years. That background in psychology comes in handy for dog tracking, as insights can be applied to both dogs and distraught owners. When a dog runs away, it may be excited by its newfound freedom. However as it becomes more disoriented, the fight or flight response kicks in. Eventually dogs can go into psychogenic shock, unable to recognize their owner’s voice. For owners, losing an animal can be a traumatic experience. It’s a situation Avila understands. In 1997, one of her own dogs, Brutus, went missing. She took two weeks off of work and even hired a private investigator to find Brutus. Luckily, he was located and returned to Avila. But the near loss of Brutus is something that she draws on in her work.

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pl e

Stephanie Avila and Ian walk together in Topeka. Ian, a trained tracking dog, is set to retire after years of service.

–S t epha nie

r “

s.”

eo p to see eir d o o g s It’ ited with thdog n eu Avila

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“I just get really determined when there’s somebody’s dog missing,” says Avila. “I can relate to that.” Back on the trail for Fonzie, the hours ease into evening and no new leads have been discovered. Avila and Ian break for the day. In some instances, such as this, the trail goes cold and eventually the search ceases. There is not always a happy ending. Fortunately, however, Avila’s work has led to quite a few reunions, such as the recent case of Bobbi Carson’s dog, Ella, who bolted from a boarding facility while her owners were out of town. After retrieving scent articles from Carson’s home, Stephanie and Ian set off, searching for clues and canvassing for miles. The next afternoon, Ian took off abruptly and then laid down, a position that he has been trained to give as “his alert.” Sure enough, there was Ella, just a couple of feet away, hiding in a cedar grove. “If it hadn’t been for Steph and Ian, I don’t know that we would have gotten Ella back,” recalls Carson. “I will be eternally grateful to them for helping us.” “It’s good to see people reunited with their dogs,” says Avila. “It’s emotional. And I know that there’s a need in the community for this service. There’s a need everywhere for this.”


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Theme for the 2016 summer edition:

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spring

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Our theme for this issue is: “Topeka Nature.” Contestants may interpret the theme as they wish. For an example, here is a take on theme from Topeka Magazine photographer Katie Moore, who captured this image during the photo shoot for our feature story on tracking dogs in this edition.

We are launching a new regular section in our magazine: Topeka Magazine’s themed photo contest. In each issue, we will run a photo of the previous theme’s winner and challenge you with a new theme. Our in-house panel will select the winner based on the criteria of artistic merit and correspondence to theme. All submissions will be posted online at topekamag.com and on our Facebook page, where we will also hold a readers’ choice vote. We look forward to your submission. Winning entry will receive a $100 payment.

Submission Guidelines: A)

B) C)

D)

Images should be emailed to topekamagazine@ sunflowerpub.com with the heading of “TM Photo Contest.” Please include contact information. Submission must be received before MAY 15. Images should be submitted only by the photographer and/or copyright holder of the image. Images must be submitted only by residents of Shawnee County.

Is thatinsmile you?

E)

F)

G)

H)

Images clearly identifying a particular individual must have that individual’s consent for publication. Files should be in digital form, either JPEG or TIFF, that can be printed up to 8x10 inches at 300dpi. Submissions indicate a consent to having the image published in the magazine and posted online in connection with the magazine. Submissions are limited to 2 images per person.

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Potawatomi Powwow | Topeka Magazine spring 2016  

The sights, sounds, drums, dances, regalia and food of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Powwow. Also in this edition: Meet Ian and Verniec...