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Art from the heart of South America: Kauffman, Carriage Factory collaborate

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Art from Paraguay will be featured in the first-ever joint exhibition between the Carriage Factory Gallery in downtown Newton and Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus in North Newton.

“Images of Paraguay” will be on display at both locations from Feb. 27 through May 23.

Said Rachel Pannabecker, director of Kauffman Museum, “The sheer number of works inspired us to collaborate to show the diversity of Paraguay’s people and the depth and challenges of the country’s history.”

Pieces shown at both locations are drawn from private and public collections in Kansas. Kauffman Museum’s part of the exhibition will focus on ethnographic and folk art, ranging from Ayoreo feather body ornaments to fine lacework introduced during the colonial period.

Contemporary works, many of which feature images of political protest and social justice, will be on display at the Carriage Factory Gallery.

Joe Loganbill, director of Carriage Factory Gallery, said, “As we’ve worked to design the exhibit space, we’ve been struck by the range of media, stylistic diversity and messages the art conveys. We are confident visitors will agree this showing represents a very uncommon experience for our locale.”

“Images of Paraguay” follows the highly successful 2008 exhibition of Paraguayan art at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka. Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Washburn University professor of art history, organized the Mulvane project for the 40th anniversary of Kansas-Paraguay Partners.

Kansas-Paraguay Partners is one of 60 partnerships in the Partners of the Americas, an international grassroots network. Since 1968, Kansas and Paraguay have connected people and programs in state-nation exchanges to promote public understanding of each other’s history and culture.

Janzen noted, “Taken together, the art shown at the Carriage Factory Gallery and Kauffman Museum will be a window into Paraguay. We can learn about the people of Paraguay through the many layers of its artistic traditions and current visual culture.”

The co-hosts have organized a program series to complement the exhibition. The grand opening will be celebrated at the Carriage Factory Gallery, Saturday, Feb. 27, as a come-and-go event from 5 to 8 p.m. Visitors will be able to view the art, listen to traditional Paraguayan guitar music and sample Paraguayan hors d’oeuvres. At 6 p.m., guest curator Janzen will provide remarks on the genesis of the exhibition project.

March 14, at 3:30 p.m., Janzen will give an illustrated lecture, “Looking at Paraguayan Art,” for Kauffman Museum’s Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum series. March 21, Charles L. Stansifer, professor emeritus from the University of Kansas, will discuss the history and cultures of Paraguay, at 3 p.m. at the Carriage Factory Gallery. The final program related to the Paraguay exhibit will be at Kauffman Museum Sunday, April 25, at 3:30 p.m., when Calvin Redekop, Harrisonburg, Va., will present “Paraguayan Utopia and Reality: A Case Study of Mennonite Settlements and Indigenous Displacement and ‘Victimization.’”

The grand opening and all lectures are free and open to the public.

The joint exhibition and programs are supported by the Carriage Factory Gallery, Kauffman Museum and three important grant sources: the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions and ideas that shape our lives and build community; and Kansas-Paraguay Partners, whose goal is to promote the exchange of people and social, educational and cultural programs and projects.

For more information about the exhibition and programs, contact Rachel Pannabecker at Kauffman Museum, 316-283-1612 or e-mail.

Carriage Factory Gallery is located at 128 E. Sixth Street, Newton, and is open Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission to the Carriage Factory Gallery is free. Kauffman Museum is located on the Bethel College campus at 27th and North Main, North Newton, and is open Tuesday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. (closed Mondays and major holidays). Admission to Kauffman Museum is $4 for adults , $2 for children 6-16 and free to members and children age five and under.

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