VIDEO: Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Fair continues through weekend

Josh Rouse


This weekend, Washburn University is hosting the Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Fair, a two-day event featuring live music, food and pieces of work from nearly 90 artists from around the country.

“We have to present our work every year on professional photographs, jury in against maybe 800 people trying to get in,” said Michael Hatton, a mobile artist from Osage City who has been showcasing his art at the fair with his partner Gabe Stoner for more than 10 years. “It’s a stiff competition. The quality of art here is exceptional. It’s a nice, small show, so the intimacy is there which is why a lot of people come to the show and enjoy it so much and why we keep coming back.”

Hatton and Stoner use aluminum that has been anodized to create their sculptures, a process which requires treating the aluminum with a chemical and putting it into a special dye that uses electricity to bond the color to it.

Sonya Scheuneman, a Topeka photographer who graduated from Washburn with a Bachelor of Integrated Studies, has created her own style, using a large photo of a flower with a background made up of smaller designs incorporating different flower photos. This is Scheuneman’s first time exhibiting her work at the fair.

“I just start drawing and designing it and placing them where they seem to fit,” said Scheuneman. “It just feels right when I’m doing it.”

Edward Bartoszek, a painter from Mission, Kan., said he finds acrylic paints give his vibrant works a better color.

“While I’m relaxing in the evening I use a sketch pad and I just start making sketches and start developing ideas from there,” said Bartoszek.

With the recent elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission by Gov. Sam Brownback, many artists had their own opinions on the matter and how it would affect the arts communities within the state. Many viewed the move as being more political than economic, particularly given the wave of support for the commission by citizens and representatives alike.

“I think it’s going to hurt the smaller communities,” said Bartoszek. “Those seem to be the ones that will be most affected with the performing arts.”

Eric Abraham, who won Best in Show at last year’s fair for his ceramics, agrees with the idea that smaller communities will be the most affected by the elimination of the arts commission.

“I know the Grassroots Arts Center, I’m on the board of that, we’re talking about curtailing hours because we get about $5,000 a year from [the arts commission],” said Abraham, who owns Eric Abraham’s Flying Pig Studio & Gallery in Downtown Lucas, Kan. “That’s a nice, big chunk. It’s going to hurt mostly rural Kansas.”