Keyoka promotes local artists

Kate Fechter

Topeka’s art scene is beginning to thrive. One new gallery helping to promote local artists is the Keyoka Galleria and Treasures.

Owned and created by Kenny Ralph, Keyoka is located on Eighth Street near Kansas Avenue and opened last December. According to employee and Washburn alumnus Chris Waugh, Ralph wanted to open a place to show his collection of figurines and invited local artists to help fill the space.

“Much of the artwork we have on the walls here is from local artists,” said Waugh. “We have seven or eight local artists on display here. We also have Digrazia prints and some Hummel prints, which are from Germany.”

One of the local artists on display at the Keyoka is current student and bachelor of fine art major, Michael Allen.  Allen has some of his “Wet Paint Photography” series on display at the Keyoka.

“He has taken objects, dropped wet paint on them and taken pictures,” said Waugh. “It fascinates me. It is so different from what anyone else is doing.”

Kathleen Cobb is another Keyoka artist and Washburn alumna, with dual degrees in anthropology and fine art. The Keyoka website displays Cobb’s many achievements as an artist and also her involvement in the Topeka Art Guild.

Some of the other artists on the Keyoka website are Staci Dawn, Ravenous and Karol Sutherland. These three artists gained their skill outside formal education and give proof that there are different ways to learn about art.

For those interested in buying a work of art by any of these local artists, the Keyoka website shows some of the pieces on display and the price of these works.

“Pricing depends on the artist,” said Waugh. “We get a percentage of what is sold here, but they put the price on it.”

Although there is one piece priced at $12,000, most of the work ranges from $90 to $1000. Friday is April Fool’s Day and also the night of the First Friday Artwalk. Keyoka Galleria and Treasures will be one of the many galleries participating.

“We’ll open up and be here until 8:30 or 9 p.m.,” said Waugh. “We’ll have coffee and cookies for folks who want to come by. We are very pleased to support local artists.”

For more information on the Keyoka Galleria and Treasures and its artists, check out or find them on Facebook.