Mulvane Museum celebrates 90 years with gala event

CELEBRATING ART: Kandis Barker, curator of education at the WU Art Lab, creates artwork after being visited by an elementary school. The Mulvane hosts many elementary schools throughout the community to visit and teach them art lessons.

In 1924 the Mulvane Art Museum first opened its doors to the public on the Washburn campus. The museum was named for Joab R. Mulvane, who gifted the building of the museum in 1922.  Mulvane was a notable business and railroad man in the state during his lifetime.

This year the Mulvane Art Museum holds their 90th Anniversary Gala. There will be a silent and live auction with food, champagne and music at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Artworks to be sold are on exhibit now and through the night of the auction.

“We’re really pleased that so many artists’ works, mostly from the Topeka community and some of the more prominent artists in the state are up for auction,” said curator Julie Myers. “Cally Krallman, a well-known landscape painter in the state has artwork here.”

Barbara Waterman Peters is another prominent painter in the state with a piece in the exhibit who is also a Washburn alumnus. “The exhibited still life is an unusual subject for her,” said Myers. “It is so distinctive because it is just a small part of an underwater world.”

There are approximately 50 pieces of artwork up for auction. Two Washburn professors have artwork in the show. Mary Dorsey Wanless’s piece called Possum Hollow and Glenda Taylor’s unique cup and saucer sculpture. Proceeds from the auction go to the operating costs of running the museum. To purchase tickets for the auction, go to: 90 or call 670-1816.

“Art life after school” will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 to  have a panel discussion on the current Alumni Exhibition. Three faculty members, Marin Abell, Michael Hager, Aziz Sharafy and two former students, Dan Coburn and Ashley Laird will be on the panel.

Among the subjects to be deliberated will be how the work of former students has changed after graduation, commonalities in the work of artists who graduated in the same decade and whether any conclusions can be drawn about the history of art training at Washburn. “It is about people in a variety of stages in their career,” said Myers. How an artist goes out and makes their way in the world.”

Art Lab Family Day is from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 18. The Art Lab, which is located in the basement of the museum, serves more than 20,000 visitors of all ages and abilities each year. It furnishes art classes for the elementary schools in Topeka, many of which have no art programs because of budget cuts to the education system in the state. To many in the school system it is the only exposure to art they receive each year.

Art lab is not just for children,” says museum attendant Jan Bychinksky. “The Art Lab is free to all.” Bychinsky encourages WU students to come and de-stress from classes and homework by creating artwork. “All supplies are provided free of charge and it is such a wonderful opportunity.”

Kandis Barker is the curator of education at the Lab, and also promotes the classes at the museum. Class costs are at various prices depending upon the type of class and materials. Barker said that these charges can be defrayed through scholarship monies and that anyone may apply. Class times and dates vary.

The Art Lab operates during the hours of the Museum. Tuesday 10-7, Wednesday-Friday 10-5 and Saturday 1-4.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Joab Mulvane would be proud to know that so much is being done for the community through the museum 90 years later.