by Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
If you have ever waited for a red light at the intersection of Mission and Tomahawk Roads, you have probably noticed the magnificent, larger-than-life statue, “The Homesteaders” at the entry to the Prairie Village Shopping Center. What you probably didn’t know, however, is that the sculptor who created this massive work was herself larger-than-life.
In 1951, Anna Belle Campbell was 22 years old and a second-year scholarship student at the Kansas City Art Institute when she heard about Prairie Village’s sculpture contest. The city was inviting art students to submit small-scale models of a sculpture that could be erected at the newly-opened Prairie Village Shopping Center. Twenty entries were received and six were selected for voting by residents. Campbell’s “The Homesteaders” was proclaimed the Prairie Village favorite. Campbell was awarded $500.00 from the J.C. Nichols Company and provided the materials to construct a 12-foot clay model for a foundry cast.
As Campbell explained to the Kansas City Star, her piece represented the “homesteading spirit” of the Westward movement. The symbols she chose included “the nourishing soil, the wheel and the basic unit of society -- the family.”
Though she may not have realized it at the time, her own family was also being established thanks to the statue. Upon learning of her contest win, fellow Art Institute student Joseph L. Cartwright, IV offered to help her with the model. By the year the work was completed, he had also earned a prize – he won himself a wife and she a husband. The couple were married one year later and went on to have three children: Joseph, Sarah, and Jessie.
Throughout her life, Anna Belle continued teaching, creating and curating art. She became a well-known museum curator, holding positions at several museums in the Midwest and Florida. In 1990, she was named Curator of the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence. After retiring from that post in 1998 she became Director of the Santa Fe Trails Association where she served until 2000.
Anna Belle died in 2001 at the age of 72, but her children continue her artistic legacy. Joseph is a renowned jazz musician and pianist, Sarah is a gifted writer, and Jessie teaches art and serves on the Prairie Village Arts Council. In one of her last art projects, Anna Belle helped design and relocate “The Homesteaders” to its current venue, a site chosen to afford the artwork maximum exposure in a natural setting. Now positioned amid a fountain at the entry to the city, the pioneering family welcome all who enter the city, along with those who appreciate its grandeur while waiting for a red light.
by J. Sherrod Taylor
Art embodies the wisdom of the world. Communities that foster, protect, and encourage the arts and humanities succeed and prosper. Those that don’t tend to wither and die. For this reason, Prairie Village and its Arts Council are dedicated to presenting excellent arts programming for our citizenry — even in these COVID-19 pandemic-ridden times. While the R.G. Endres Gallery remains closed for our normal 2nd Friday art receptions and monthly art shows, we have hung work from our own members and alumni to be enjoyed by visitors to City Hall. A review of this show reveals a talented array of local residents striving to enhance the arts scene in Prairie Village.
Jessie Cartwright, for example, has taught art for 23 years and continues to be inspired by the colors, lines, and textures that she incorporates into her fabric designs. Jessie has deep roots in our community, and is the daughter of Anna Belle Campbell Cartwright, the artist who created Prairie Village's signature statue as further described in our October article.
Kathy Clark, is also an art teacher with 20-plus years experience who specializes in photography, graphic design, and digital imagery. Kathy joined PVAC in 2019 and has immediately jumped in to help our community and says her commitment to promote the arts in Prairie Village has been a privilege and so much fun.
Julie Flanagan is a fourth generation Kansas City resident who has taught art to all walks of life, from Catholic children to inner-city high schoolers, from an art museum environment to artful TV appearances. She has since unleashed her own inner artist through the medium of highly manipulated digital photography with layered polymers.
Betsy Holliday has lived in Prairie Village with her husband Ralph since 1987 and has been on the Arts Council since 2015. She earned a degree in Art History from Swarthmore College and has served as a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. She made the papier mâché “donkey” and “elephant” masks shown in this exhibit for a political election party in 2008.
Ada Koch is well-known within the Kansas City arts community as an artist, organizer, and teacher. Ada's work has appeared prominently in the Kansas City area as further described in the August issue of the PVAC Blog. Her art is available at Eva Reynolds Fine Art Gallery, Buttonwood Gallery, and The Bunker Center for the Arts.
Bill Rose began his art career drawing portraits of his daughter’s softball team, but now he’s joined the big leagues. Creator of the “Forever Royal” mural in Kauffman Stadium commemorating our baseball team’s recent World Series victory, Rose produces original artwork and prints that celebrate the Royals, the Chiefs, and other popular sports figures. Moreover, his drawings have appeared in many national publications and was featured in the major motion picture “The Forger” directed by Clint Eastwood. His drawings and paintings are available through the Leopold Gallery in Brookside, 324 W. 63rd Street.
Sherrod Taylor, joined the Arts Council this year and immediately became a prolific writer for our website and an integral part of the council. He is a retired Georgia lawyer and long-time art collector, and began producing his own Sumi-e ink paintings only after he retired and moved to Kansas.
Paul Tosh, an award-winning, professional designer and illustrator for over 36 years with professional experience in his native Nashville, TN and Tucson, AZ. Paul has been a full-time professor of graphic design at UMKC since 2001.
Shelly Trewolla holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in the arts. After working for several years in Australia and New Mexico, she taught art and ceramics at Shawnee Mission East from 2000 until she retired in 2015. She has been a PVAC member for 11 years.
This art show can be seen at the R.G. Endres Gallery, Prairie Village City Hall during normal busienss hours, M-F, 8:00 to 5:00. Additionally, photographs showing the artwork on display will be posted on our website under monthly shows. Although a few of the items are not for sale, most pieces may be purchased for the prices under the terms indicated on the website.
The Prairie Village Arts Council was pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Art of Photography show this month. All of the winning artists were pleased to hear of their recognition. One particularly heart warming story was shared by Emily Gould, who's entry, "So Done" was recognized in the portrait category. She shared that the picture was of her husband, who had posed for many of her shots, but that this picture was the last one he was willing to let her take. Sadly, he passed away shortly before our winners were announced. Emily shared that the recognition was a wonderful tribute for both her and him. Please click here to read more about the show and see the work of all our winners.
Also, We are happy to report that our alum, Ada Koch, concluded her July show in the Bunker Center to great success and we are proud of her support to the Kansas City Chapter of Mothers in Charge. Mothers in Charge supports families of victims of gun violence by providing trauma-informed crisis intervention and peer-to-peer comfort, care and support to family members. In cooperation with the Kansas City Police Department, they are notified when a homicide occurs and respond immediately. As police are securing the scene for proper investigation, they are there to support the family members impacted. We could not be more proud of Ada's efforts and encourage everyone to support the work of Mothers in Charge. For more information on their organization, click here.
by J. Sherrod Taylor
Painter Ada Koch, a former member of the Prairie Village Arts Council (PVAC), is currently displaying her work in two dramatic settings. These two shows offer thought provoking work presented in a manner to beautify our community.
Ada(www.adakoch.com) is well-known in our Kansas City arts community as an artist, organizer, and teacher. She has served on several metro boards promoting local arts activities — including a four-year stint on our own PVAC. She has displayed her work in many arts shows including the renown Florence Bienniale art show in Florence, Italy; and her works hang in private collections in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Locally, her paintings may be found at the National World War I Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Stowers Institute, and the Overland Park City Hall.
Completed under the auspices of the Art in the Loop Foundation (www.artintheloop.com), “Hope & Gratitude” finds Koch decorating a Ride KC Streetcar with a painted wrap of red poppies to remember, celebrate, and honor our nation’s veterans. This prominent display of her work is made in combination with renown local poet Glenn North's moving poetry. Glenn North is the Director of the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, and is the first poet laureate of the 18th and Vine Historic District. These two artists combine to inspire hope and peace for the future of our country.
In addition to their feature work for downtown, Koch and North also teamed up for an art show entitled “Hope Forward” currently featured at the Bunker Center for the Arts (https://www.bunkercenter.com/). In this show Koch displays “disruptive art” featuring poignant paintings promoting anti-gun violence themes. The show is presented in support of Mothers in Charge, founded by Rosilyn Temple, whose son died as a result of gun violence. This group of concerned citizens supports and comforts other similarly situated persons in our community. Fifty percent of the proceeds from Koch’s art sales this month will go to Mothers in Charge.
This collaboration by Ada Koch and Glenn North is a beautiful example of how artists may join together to provide creative, encompassing space of peace and harmony even in the downtown business district for street car riders and passers-by. We hope you enjoy the display, I know we PVAC member are proud of our alumnus.
by Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
Whenever school starts again, six-year old Sully Nine will be driven to school by a Prairie Village Police D.A.R.E. officer. He can pick out anything worth $50.00 at the Learning Tree toy store, and treat himself and his family to $20.00 worth of ice cream at the Summer Salt ice cream parlor. Sully earned all these rewards by winning the Sidewalk Art Contest sponsored by the City of Prairie Village.
The son of Amy and Chet Nine, six-year old Sully is a rising first grader at Belinder Elementary. His winning entry, an American flag, received more “likes” on Facebook than the other eight artwork photos that were submitted by entrants ranging in age from 3 to 51.
According to his mother, Amy, Sully likes to draw animals but for this contest chose to design something “patriotic and USA-related.” After looking up pictures of flags that he could replicate, he employed the “tape and chalk” method 9-year old Siena Taylor described in the Prairie Village Arts Council blog, outlining the image with masking tape first and then coloring it in.
Sully tried to depict all fifty stars in his banner, but couldn’t squeeze them all in. But that obviously didn’t keep him from winning the contest. Sully is excited to have won the contest and says he is “kind of interested in being an artist” when he grows up, but would rather be a veterinarian. Who knows? Maybe he’ll end up drawing pictures of animals for a living.