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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Matthew Nowak: Art association seeking local talent

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  • So, what kind of art do you enjoy doing? Are you an oil painter, or do you work in watercolors?
    Maybe you are a photographer or you work in fiber. How about poetry or music?
    Well, at the most recent Leavenworth County Artists Association meeting, we had a bit of all these and more.
    It started when we got past the general business and went into show-and-tell.
    We generally go around the room and people show their latest work in oil or watercolor, or maybe they show off their latest photos. And, actually it did start with our president showing his latest paintings.
    Then it started getting a little out of the ordinary.
    One of our newer artists, who is actually a returning artist because she has not attended any meetings in years, got up from her seat and occupied the chair in the middle of the room, where the club president had just given his presentation.
    She pulled out several pieces of paper and read her latest poems. I have attended these artist meetings for many years and I do not recall anyone ever doing a poetry reading.
    It was outstanding and people really enjoyed it. That opened up the conversation about all kinds of art and I encouraged one of our artists to bring his guitar to the next meeting to sing some blues songs he has written.
    With that out there, we discovered that another of our artists has actually written songs for the market, but she said the Internet pretty much put her out of business since people just download anything they want without paying for it.
    So, in one quick meeting we went from the artist group that has been pretty much strong on traditional art, like painting or photographing in two dimensions, to accepting and celebrating performance art like poetry readings and music.
    Of course, we have accepted plenty of other forms of art such as fiber art, wood carving, woodwork, and sculpture, etc., but those are all variations of the traditional arts.
    I am so pleased and excited about the prospects of hearing more from our performing artists. Actually, the reason they have been attending anyway is they are also talented in traditional art forms, it's just they never considered sharing their performance art talent until a new member decided to give a poetry reading.
    I hope this also encourages more artists to join the association.
    If you are interested in checking out this group, then plan to attend any second Tuesday night in the East Gallery Room of the Heritage Center on Delaware. I should add that any music will have to be written by you.  
    There are other groups that enjoy hearing the standards, but our musicians actually are writing their own music.
    Page 2 of 2 - Speaking of art, it sounds like there will be plenty of opportunities for those who like to paint to participate in the Buffalo Bill festival in August.  There will be quite a few people dressed in period clothing and you should be able to convince one or two to model for you in front of one of the many historic buildings in downtown Leavenworth.
    I suppose I should be surprised about some of our folks being good at a poetry reading or writing songs, but I have been around Leavenworth long enough now to admit there really is a lot of talent in the area.  
    Hopefully, many of those either talented in the arts or just interested in learning more about it will join our association.

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