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The arts take center stage for Kauffman Museum’s 2014 Kansas Day

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – This year’s Kansas Day event at Kauffman Museum will place a spotlight on the arts.

The popular annual event will be Jan. 25 from 1:30-4:30 p.m., both in and around the museum on the Bethel College campus.

“We are especially looking forward to highlighting the arts in Kansas this year,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, curator of education. “We’ve tried to represent a variety of fine arts. We’ll have musicians playing and dancers performing, and we are especially excited to have Brad Sneed come speak about how he illustrates books.”

Sneed’s presentation will be the third of three special events focusing on different arts. All are in the Kauffman Museum auditorium.

At 1:45 p.m. is a concert by NUTS, the Newton Ukulele Tunes Society, followed at 2:45 by the Kaleidoscope Dance Company from the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts, with a mixture of ballet, Irish and modern dance by the junior, senior and Irish dance troupes.

Newton native Brad Sneed, who now lives with his family in Prairie Village, has illustrated more than 20 children’s and picture books, most recently Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale by Devin Scillian, published in 2013.

Johnny Kaw is “a larger-than-life character reminiscent of Paul Bunyan, who settles with his normal-sized parents in Kansas,” Sneed said. He will read the book and give a short PowerPoint presentation on the process of illustrating the manuscript.

Sneed’s presentation will be followed by a book signing. Copies of Johnny Kaw are for sale in the Kauffman Museum store as well as from local booksellers.

A related special feature of Celebrate Kansas Day! is a display in the museum’s special exhibit area of artwork, writing about tall tales and tall tale re-tellings from Northridge and Sunset Elementary School third graders. These groups, under the leadership of Gail Pryce and LaDonna Voth, have been studying the Johnny Kaw tall tale.

Other artist demonstrations in and around the museum will include painting by Joseph Loganbill, Newton; pottery by clay artist Hanna Eastin, Newton; wood carving by John Gaeddert, North Newton; weaving courtesy of the Newton Etcetera Shop by weavers Carol Gerbrand and Carol Goering; and blacksmithing by Bill Moffet, Rose Hill.

Two arts organizations, Carriage Factory Gallery, Newton, and Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education, Overland Park, will share information at display tables in the museum.

The make-it-and-take-it craft and activity stations will include Kansas postage stamps, corn shelling, “Prairie Print Makers” hats, a museum artwork scavenger hunt, a Johnny Kaw photo scene, a beginner’s drawknife bench, a puppet play area and a chance to try drums from around the world with Everett Bradley, Newton.

On the hour, starting at 1:30, Jerry Toews, Goessel, will start up Kauffman Museum’s 1927 International Harvester Farmall tractor, which will be available for photos.

There will also be demonstrations of woodworking, knot tying and splicing, wood chopping and hewing skills and rope making.

Popular outdoor events planned are old-fashioned schoolyard games; horse-drawn wagon rides (weather permitting) from Country Boys Carriage; kettle popcorn popping; and the Native American teepee.

The restored farmhouse will be heated and open for touring.

The Friends of Kauffman Museum will sponsor their annual Kansas Day bake sale. The museum store will be open, with all wheat weaving on sale at 20 percent off.

The 2014 Celebrate Kansas Day! event is supported by a North Newton Community Development Grant.

For more information on the 17th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! at Kauffman Museum, call Andi Schmidt Andres at 316-283-1612.