Category Archives: Art

Celebrating the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Gordon Parks and his tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.,
The Gordon Parks Museum has scheduled a series of events to celebrate his life.
Starting on January 13th at 7pm
The Gordon Parks Museum Presents:
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s: Ever Present
Then, on Friday, Jan. 14th and Monday, Jan. 17th, the film showings of
Eyes on the Prize: American Civil Rights
After the first film on January 14th, there will be a Lunch & Learn in the Ellis Arts Center at 12pm. The Fort Scott High School Advanced Drama students will be reading the “I Have A Dream” speech given by Martin Luther King.
The community is invited and encouraged to bring canned food or cleaning products from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the museum which is in recognition of King’s day of service events that will happen nationally. These canned goods/cleaning products will be presented to The Beacon, a local helping agency. Please, no out-of-date goods.
After the 1st film on the 17th, the Lunch & Learn event by Prisca Barnes, will be speaking on the “The Dockum Drugstore Sit-In”, an event that happened in Wichita.
A free lunch will be provided by Luther’s BBQ. Drinks and desserts will be provided by Great Western Dining.

Kids Art Camp Offered Next Week

Judy Earp. Submitted photo.

Judy Earp lived 40 years in California and moved to Fort Scott in December 2019 because she fell in love with a Victorian home here.

She originally was from Lamar, MO, and looked there and in Nevada for just the right home to accommodate all of her Victorian furniture in her decision to return to the Mid-West.

When Earp found the house at 702 S. National Avenue, she found a space for an art studio.

“My art studio is in the basement,” she said.

During her California years, in her free time (she was a computer programmer and also sold real estate), she took art classes of all sorts, at Monterrey Peninsula Community College.

“The labs and all the equipment were fantastic (for all the art classes she took),” she said.

She started offering painting classes in Fort Scott in 2020 and found that the play area just outside her studio was perfect for the kid’s art classes she wanted to instruct.

The children need breaks sometimes, she said, and the space is perfect for that.

Next week she is offering a Winter Art Party for children ages five and up.

“Our next camp is from December 27 through December 31,” she said. “It has a winter theme. The cost is $125 for the entire week. I also offer two art parties for the kids on No School Days, one for USD 234 and one for St. Mary’s. These take place at my studio at 702 S. National. The cost is $25.”

No School Days are when students are not in class for one day, for teacher in-service, etc.

“My main goal is to share the joy of creating art with people of all ages and that we should all have fun while doing so,” Earp said.

“I offer different art events geared for different age groups,” she said. “During the summer and winter and spring breaks, I offer an art camp that is a week-long and we create five  different paintings, all with a common theme.”

She also provides private art parties.

“Paint and Sip Parties are adult, also private parties,” she said. “I do women’s church groups.”

This past summer Earp offered a beach week, a red, white, and blue week and a farm week.

Judy Earp’s students during beach week in 2021. Submitted photo.

“I offer family-friendly art parties also, with paintings that are suitable for all ages,” she said. “We just had one at Papa Don’s this past Saturday. The cost is also $25.”

Students of the Family Paint and Pizza Art Party on Dec. 18, at Papa Don’s Pizza. Submitted photo.

“I also offer Paint & Sip Parties,” she said. “I will have two in January at Dry Wood Creek Cafe. We will be painting a Highland Cow. Both parties sold out within a few hours.”

Submitted photo.

“All parties include everything you need to complete and take home a painting,” she said.  “I draw the picture on the canvas for you, supply the paint, brushes, easels and aprons. I also guide the artists every step of the way.”

Judy Howser and a friend show their art from a Fall Pathway Art Party in September. Submitted photo.

The best way for people to know immediately when a new class, camp or party is offered is to Like and follow Happy Snappy Art on Facebook, she said.

Artificers Art Show Dec. 3-4 at 119 S. Main

The Artificers 5th Annual Christmas Show,  a new artshow to Fort Scott this year, is Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 119 S. Main.
“Once a year Trent and I create Christmas and holiday-themed (art) work,”  Kate Freeman said. “We invite some artists’ friends to share their offerings as well.”
The Freeman’s, from the Kansas City area,  purchased the building north of the radio station 8 North National Avenue in Fort Scott and were renovating it, but had a few setbacks, Kate said.
To view the prior story on the Freeman’s art business: The Artificers Are Coming
“Jared Leek, the owner of Front Door Realty, was kind enough to give our show a home when we weren’t able to open our studio in time for our annual show,” Kate said. “We were hoping to be open for business, but due to some setbacks our space isn’t finished.”
This year seven artists are participating in this event.
“I hand-picked them for their craftsmanship and diverse mediums,” she said. “There is sure to be something special for everyone on your Christmas list!”
The artists include Trent and Kate Freeman, in the medium of sculpture:  Andrea Latham, Kansas City, Kansas, ceramic pottery; Erin Shevling, Edwardsville, Kansas, functional pottery;
Tim Kienzle, Bonner Springs, Kansas, copper jewelry;
Darrell Williams, Kirksville, Missouri, airbrush art; and
Julie Snitker, Kansas City, Missouri, mixed media collage.
Some of the artists work:
The Artificers studio is progressing on National Avenue.
“Slowly but surely,” she said. “There is progress on all fronts, it just feels like a snail’s pace when we are so excited to share our space and art with our new community.”
Below is a link to sign up for updates and emails for classes and events.

Holiday Art Show: Dec. 3-4

The Artificers invite you to their
5th Annual Christmas Art Show!
December 3rd 10am to 9pm
December 4th 10am to 9pm
Crooner’s Lounge &
Front Door Real Estate
119 South Main Street
Fort Scott, KS
7 artists, including Trent and Kate Freeman,
will be participating. All of them were handpicked for their craftsmanship and diverse mediums.
There is sure to be something special
for everyone on your Christmas list!
Please RSVP and enter your email with this link and receive a token of our appreciation to be picked up at the show! Here’s the link.



New Mural In Riverfront Park

Stephen Toal stands in front of his latest mural, entitled, United We Stand, Divided We Fall, on the Riverfront Loop Road, under the Hwy. 69 underpass on Wednesday afternoon.

On November 8, local artist Stephen Toal was finishing up a new mural he has painted in the tunnel of the Hwy. 69 underpass on the Riverfront Loop Road in Riverfront Park.

He was inspired to create some patriotic themes featuring the Statue of Liberty along with the skyline of New York and the symbol of America, the Bald Eagle.

He said the name of the mural is United We Stand, Divided We Fall, which he felt was fitting for this time in America. The pandemic, social justice issues, and political divides are the news of the day in the last year and a half since the pandemic began.

For Toal, the project was set back a bit by stolen paint left at the site last week.

“Somebody stole my paint,” Toal said. “But it’s pretty cool that people came together and purchased more paint for me.”

“I’m going to open an account for community projects,” he said. “I don’t like messing with money,”

He has done six community murals in Fort Scott parks and has had three paid mural jobs recently, he said.

His first mural was at Gunn Park under the big rock shelter house No. 1, which he completed in spring 2020.

To view prior features on the artist:

New Mural at Gunn Park by Artist Stephen Toal

Art Is Therapy For Toal

Toal said he invites the community to come and visit his latest artwork.

The New York skyline and the American Bald Eagle are featured in Toal’s latest mural.

His mural work is just about finished for the season.

“Spray paint spits, when the weather gets below 40 degrees,” Toal said. “So I do it when the weather is warmer.”


The Artificers Are Coming

Kate and Trent Freeman. Submitted photo.

Kate and Trent Freeman, Edwardsville,  purchased a building at 8 North National Avenue, Fort Scott, on October 2, 2020, and will soon open their new business there, called The Artificers.

“The definition of artificers is fine artists and craftsmen,” Kate said.

The business will be an art gallery, a teaching studio workshop space, and a studio space for both Kate and Trent, who are artists by profession.

“We have a network of artists that we will pull from to come in and display and teach watercolor, collage, airbrush artists… from all over the country,” she said.

There will be classes and workshops.

A possible opening will be late winter, 2021, or early spring, 2022, Trent said.

“Artificers is a group, including Trent and I and anyone we invite in,” she said. “You can expect quality work.”

Trent received  a degree in  fine art from Emporia State University; Kate “just does art”, she said, and added, “I do the marketing for the business.”

The business will take commissioned art and have art for sale.

Trent works to create art in mixed media: clay, glass, wood, metal; Kate works in clay and acrylic painting.

“We had our studio in Kansas City for 22 years,” Trent said. “I’ve been a professional for 28 years. We’ve done everything from gallery to commission to art festivals all over the country. Most of our work is commission now.”

Trent said when Kansas City shut down businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic, they began coming to their farm, west of Fort Scott.

Trent’s parents, Ed and Jackie Freeman built a house near Bronson and retired there, and so Trent and Kate have been coming here for 20 years, he said. “And we loved the town.”

“We love the atmosphere here,” Kate said. “It feels like home here. I feel there is a revival about to happen in the town and it feels good.”

The artists had a setback in July 2021, when the building next door to the north, between The Artificers and Sharkey’s Pub & Grub Restaurant, collapsed.

“That set us back three months,” Trent said.

Also, the pandemic has kept contractors busy and the Freemans are in line for plumbing, electrical, etc.

Trent is doing most of the repurposing of the inside of the former Hammond Real Estate building himself, and last Saturday was framing up some rooms on the inside.

“The front one-third of the building will be a gallery space,” Kate said. “The next one-third will have a small kitchenette and be a teaching studio workshop and have classes in all art genres.  The back one-third will be our studio space for creating.”

“The City of Fort Scott is contracting Mid Continental Restoration for some facia and the entire north side (of the building) will be cleaned and sealed,” Trent said. “They have been good to us.”

The Freeman’s will eventually live on the second floor of the building when the business’s first floor is complete, Kate said.

They are not in a hurry, because their daughter is a senior in high school and they don’t want to move until she leaves for the University of Arkansas next fall.

Accompanying them in the move will be their Red Healer dog, Ivy, Kate said, and Ivy was enjoying the sun from a south-facing window in the gallery on Saturday. There will be many more days in that spot.

For more information:  8 North National-The Artificers Facebook page or

Kate Freeman. Submitted photo.
Trent Freeman. Submitted photo.
Kate Freeman. Submitted photo.
Trent Freeman. Submitted photo.
The sign on the business reflects National Avenue.

Lowell Milken Center Features New Exhibits and Expands

The unveiling of the exhibit honoring African American Suffragettes Mamie Dillard and Carrie Langston Hughes by Lowell Milken Center Docent Rhonda Hassig, left, and Miah Lugrand, the principal of Pinckney Elementary School, Lawrence, KS. Both Dillard and Hughes lived in Lawrence.

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, 1 S. Main, has expanded its’ exhibits into the park south of the building.

On October 8, the center hosted an unveiling of two Kansas black women who were suffragettes in the movement to allow women to vote. The exhibit was sponsored by a Kansas Humanities Grant and featured Carrie Langston Hughes and Mamie Dillard.

In addition, that day several new exhibits were unveiled in the green space area south of the center, named the Unsung Heroes Park.

“The objectives of the park are to provide a place for visitors to enjoy the pleasant outdoor scenery, learn about unsung heroes, and offer a centralized community gathering space for programs and activities, while also complementing the downtown area,” according to a prior LMC press release.

To view the  press release on the park:

New Unsung Heroes Park in Downtown Fort Scott


A Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes screen announcing the new exhibit featuring Kansas Suffragettes Carrie Langston Hughes and Mamie Dillard.

The new outside exhibits in the Unsung Heroes Park are inter-changeable and will be occasionally switched out, Ronda Hassig, LMC Docent, said.

“We are still awaiting murals that will be placed on the north side of the center, facing Wall Street and also on the south side of the center, facing the park,” she said.

The biggest part of the funding for the park was by the center’s founder Lowell Milken. Milken believes “education can awaken the mind, sustain curiosity and strengthen our engagement with others. More importantly, … education has the power to instill in people the impulse to take initiative for the good of others,” according to the LMC for Unsung Heroes website.

Others who helped with the park funding: the American Association of Retired People Challenge Award, The Timken Foundation, and a Sunderland Grant, Hassig said.

Lowell Milken Center Director Norm Conard, left, welcomes the crowd to the unveiling of new exhibits on Oct. 8. Megan Felt, LMC Program Director; Ronda Hassig, LMC Docent; Robert Nelson who sang a moving spiritual as part of the program and Gordon Parks Museum Director Kirk Sharp look on.


Norm Conard, left, watches as Kirk Sharp and Robert Nelson unveil the Gordon Parks exhibit, which is part of the new expanded space for exhibits south of the Lowell Milken Center in downtown Fort Scott.
The storyboard, also called a story rail, of Gordon Parks, who had a humble beginning in Fort Scott and went on to be a famed photographer, journalist, author, and film producer.
One of the new exhibits features Mary Anning.
Chester Nez, a World War II Veteran, who was a Navajo Code Talker in service to his country, is featured on the new story rail in the Lowell Milken Center Unsung Heroes Park.
Juanita Moody is a new featured exhibit in the Unsung Heroes Park.
Amos Bronson Alcott is newly featured in the Unsung Heroes Park.
A waterfall feature adds to the beauty of the Unsung Heroes Park.
The greenspace south of the Lowell Milken Center at Main and Wall Street in downtown Fort Scott has new exhibits in the expanded area. The picture is taken from the southside of the center looking south. Main Street is to the right.

Education and Entertainment: the Gordon Parks Celebration

John Mason, left,  leads a discussion on Gordon Parks’ book A Choice of Weapons, with  Harold Hicks, one of the book club facilitators, attending on the Zoom screen. A Fort Scott Community College Book Club had been discussing the book in previous weeks.  Mason is a history professor at the University of Virginia. In the book, Parks states that his weapons of choice in the fight against bigotry and poverty were love, dignity, and hard work. The book discussion was on Oct. 8 at the Ellis Arts Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.
Gordon Parks Museum Director Kirk Sharp gives an introduction to the Lunch and Learn speaker on Oct. 8 at the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. The speaker, Angela Bates, is on the left.

The annual Gordon Parks Celebration weekend Oct. 7-9 was packed with events to educate and entertain.

The Gordon Parks Museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2401 S. Horton.

Parks was an African American documentary photojournalist, photographer, musician, writer and director, with humble beginnings in Fort Scott.

He died in 2006.

There were photo exhibits and a local photo contest, speakers, tours, film showings, entertainment, book discussions, and the opening of the Learning Tree Tourism Trail.

Two African American men were honored as the “Choice of Weapons” annual recipients, Kyle Johnson and Eli Reed.

Kyle Johnson is an actor, performer, and activist. Submitted photo.


Eli Reed is a photographer, author, producer, and director. Submitted photo.

Parks Choice of Weapons Award Winners Announced

During the weekend celebration, The Learning Tree Tourism Trail was introduced.

The Learning Tree Tourism Trail is a series of signs located at the different locations where the filming of The Learning Tree took place around Fort Scott. The signs include QR codes, to be used with a smartphone,  along with a virtual tour of the identified scene locations of the film, according to a Gordon Parks Museum press release.

To learn more:

The Learning Tree Tourism Trail Grand Opening is Oct. 7

Angela Bates speaks on Nicodemus, an African American town in Kansas, at a Lunch and Learn as part of the Gordon Parks Celebration on October 8.  Nicodemus, KS was a community of African Americans who came following the Civil War to start new lives as free people. Bates said the first year, 1877,  the Potowattamie and Osage Tribes of indigenous peoples helped the newcomers with food.

The annual photography contest in conjunction with the Gordon Parks Celebration had the winners on display at the Ellis Arts Center on the campus of FSCC.

Additionally on display were some of Parks’ photos and photos of The Learning Tree, the autobiographical film that Parks wrote and directed.

Winners of the Gordon Parks Celebration “Fashion & Diversity” photo contest, sponsored by Merl Humphrey Photography, are below.

Twenty-six entries were received and the winner of First Place was Johanna Walker (Franklin, KS) with the photo titled “Spotlight.”

Second Place was also Johanna Walker with the photo “Johnny.”

Third Place was Frank Clay with his photo, “Enjoying Each Other.”

First, Second, and Third place winners received cash prizes of $100, $75, and $50 respectively.

There were six Honorable Mentions named: “Diversity.” by (Yasser Alaa Mobarak,( Alexandria, Egypt.); “Skating the Disaster.” by Julie Steck (Merriam, KS); “Jewels of Plenty” by Bareigh Farrell (Fort Scott); “Portrait.” by Yasser Alaa Mobarak, (Alexandria, Egypt); “Queen of Color” by Alexxus Browning, Tulsa, OK and “Baby Blue.” by Adelay Martin (Redfield, KS).

The contest was open to any non-professional photographer and was inspired by Gordon Parks, who started his career in fashion photography and chose a camera to fight against racism, discrimination, and poverty.

Judges for the photo contest were professional photographer, Veretta Cobler, and established make-up artist and hairstylist, Donna Fumoso based in New York City.

The photo exhibit is on display in the lobby of the Ellis Fine Arts Center through October 15. The building is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

First Place was Johanna Walker (Franklin, KS) with the photo titled “Spotlight.”
Johanna Walker, Franklin, KS was second-place winner in the Gordon Parks Photography Contest. The contest winners were one of many artistic displays at the Gordon Parks Celebration.
Enjoying Each Other, a photograph by Frank Clay, Overland Park, KS was the third-place winner of the Gordon Parks Photography Contest.



Children’s Art Class Offered On No-School Days

Happy Snappy Art is now offering art parties for school-age students on the no-school days for USD 234 & St. Mary’s.
They will be offered every month.
Other Paint Parties are offered this month for adults and children 12+.
All events include everything needed to complete the painting and step by step instructions.
The total cost for each is $25. A deposit of $5 is required to reserve your spot.
Message Happy Snappy Art on Facebook or email at to reserve your spot.

Jazz, R and B Violinist Performs Oct. 8

The Gordon Parks Museum Presents:
Multi-Talented Contemporary
Jazz & R&B Violinist
The River Room
3 W. OAK ST., FORT SCOTT, KS 66701
Doors open at 6:30 pm
Performance at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $30 in advance, or $35 at the door.
Tickets are available at the Gordon Parks Museum or over the phone (620) 223.2700, Ext. 5850
Click HEREto visit the Gordon Parks Museum website.
Click HEREto view the Press release from The Gordon Parks Museum and learn more about his amazing and talented performer who is coming to Fort Scott!

Museum of Creativity Starts Fall Activities

From the museum’s Facebook page.
The Museum of Creativity has craft classes for children, some playgroups, and a ladies craft time starting this week.
The building is located at 201 S. National Avenue in the Beaux Arts Centre.
Owner Lorina Bowman, said the following are available:
Play Group – [Open Play] every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Maker Monday – [Beginner Crafts] ages 7-18 – every Monday after school – 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
From the museum’s Facebook page.
Lego Club – [Challenge Builds] ages 7-18 – every Tuesday after school 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Ladies Craft Night – [Crafts] every Tuesday Night from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Friday Fun – [Open Play] every Friday from 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Game Night – [Board Games] every Friday from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Entrance fee for all groups is $1 for each person.
“There will be an extra kit fee for craft groups and that will always be posted at least 24 hours in advance on the group event page,” Bowman said.
“We are accepting reservations for field trips, birthday parties or any other type of event you would like to have here,” she said. “It is only $100 to reserve the museum and classroom. Please contact us to see how we can make your event special. We will not host events or be open on Sundays.”
“If you would like to volunteer time or money to help out our non-profit we have lots of opportunities,” she said. “Come talk to us!”
More details can be found on the Museum of Creativity Facebook page, then click on the events tab to find each group for more details.
Text Bowman at  209-204-9743 or email: