Alumni and professor host upcoming art show in NOTO

Matthew L. Self

Two Ponders: A Collaboration will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on March 1 at 935 N Kansas Avenue at the NOTO Arts Center in North Topeka. It promises to be an outstanding event and anyone who enjoys art shows should give some serious thought to attending.

The region known locally as NOTO, located in North Topeka, has long been recognized for its historical connection to Topeka as a popular downtown hangout spot and, recently, as the thriving arts district of our city. A new event will be taking place this March that will feature the work of Dennis Etzel, a senior lecturer of the English department and a poet, and Barbara Waterman-Peters, a painter and Washburn alumni member, called Two Ponders: A Collaboration. Etzel’s beautiful poetry blends with Mrs. Waterman-Peter’s paintings in a colorful array of artwork that both pleases the eye and opens the soul.

The NOTO area is home to many local businesses that are unique to Topeka as well as the monthly Artsconnect First Friday Artwalk event. The NOTO area was a center of entertainment in Topeka during the 1950’s and was the place to be for many people living in Topeka at the time. After a flood in 1951 the area collapsed and the businesses became abandoned. But recently, the NOTO area has been revitalized and is once again a place to admire art, spend time with friends and so much more.

Etzel and Waterman-Peters came up with the idea for a collaboration when the pair spent an afternoon together at Gage Park. The two artists were already acquainted with each other and had been considering a project for months. They had spent many afternoons discussing possible ideas at such places like PT’s coffee shop just across the street from Washburn before they finally decided to go to the rose garden pond at Gage Park.

Waterman-Peters described the enlightening feeling that she had upon arriving at the pond and how she drew inspiration from the scenery.

“Dennis suggested that we meet at Gage Park at the rose garden pond so that we could sit and be in nature and see where things go. We decided that we were going to let nature dictate what we were going to do,” Waterman-Peters said. “Water became a theme and we developed a theme dealing with the past, present and future around the scene of this pond. The pond became a means of expressing our ideas.”

Etzel described how he drew inspiration from the pond at Gage Park and how it ties in to his plans for his collaborative project.

“I wanted to do something fresh and new but I also knew I had the time to really examine if there is something about water that’s archetypal, that’s eternal, that it’s flowing. That’s what we realized was that time we had, time to just sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, just to sit down and write without fearing an upcoming deadline,” said Etzel.