Mulvane Art museum celebrates Georgia O’Keefe

Four-year-old Monica Carr paints a picture Saturday at the Mulvane Art Museum’s Artist Birthday Celebration. The event celebrated Georgia O’Keeffe’s b-day.

Regina Budden

In the intimate setting of Mulvane Art Museum’s basement Art Lab, four young artists’ works were blossoming-literally. The artist of the day was Georgia O’Keeffe, an American painter who was born Nov. 15, 1887, and whose best-known art subjects were flowers. Thus, the participants in the Birthday Celebration were given watercolor paints and encouraged to paint flowers, too.

Teacher Sean O’Callahan said the main attendees of this event were children under the age of 10 and their parents. This particular Celebration, then, was right in line with the norm. The participants were Mikki Cross of Topeka and her daughter, Kyler Slapar, age 7, and Maria Carr, also of Topeka, who brought her two sons, Fischer, 9; Culhan, 6; and daughter Monica, 4.

As the parents made small talk and fine water-colored lines, the children went to work, slopping water into pigment and busily getting their ideas on paper. The Carr family is very heavily involved in art of all forms; Maria detailed their latest escapade: celebrating the election day by using melted wax to make an American flag. The family also does mosaic projects together. Fischer attended the “Many Worlds of Mosaic” camp held at Washburn this summer, and the family hopes to attend many more events here.

Kyler has also attended quite a few events at the university. “I went to ‘Trash to Treasure’ with my dad,” she said. Cross affirmed that she and her husband bring Kyler to art events at Washburn regularly. In fact, she and Kyler left the Birthday Celebration early to catch part of the basic painting class on acrylics. “It’s really nice,” said Cross, “They offer a lot of classes and programs for kids here.”

O’Callahan, who was informed last minute that he would be teaching this session, is a student at Washburn studying to be a secondary art teacher. Although he admits he wouldn’t want to teach younger children art for a living, O’Callahan said: “Art does a lot of great things for kids. It can teach them creativity, expression, and even how to analyze and problem solve.”

The next Artist’s Birthday Celebration will be based on Claude Monet and will take place Saturday, Nov. 22. For a complete listing of these and other Mulvane Art Museum events, please see the calendar online at