Kansas State University


Beach Blog

Category: Behind the Scenes


Museum Collaborates with Local Programs to Inspire ARTFul Living

Current research shows that participation in the arts can help people develop and retain skills and live happier lives. From improving memory and cognition to stimulating our brains to produce the “reward” hormone dopamine, arts activities can enhance well-being. Under the heading Artful Living, educators at the Beach Museum of Art lead a number of arts activities tailored to adult audiences, including those with special needs. They collaborate with local organizations to provide to senior living facilities and the following programs:

  • The museum provides space and programs serving senior facilities for OSHER, a nation-wide life-long learning program for those aged 55 and older, and participates in K-State’s Center on Aging Lecture Series at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.
  • SPEEDY PD Art is part of the community-wide Parkinson’s Support Group program which meets at Meadowlark Hills. The Museum provides an annual art talk and weekly art classes during the summer. One benefit of making art for those with Parkinson’s is the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that becomes depleted in Parkinson’s patients.  Many of the artworks produced over the summer serve as prizes for the Speedy PD benefit race held in August.
  • ARTFul Memories at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community is a Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) based program.  On the fourth Wednesday of the month persons with dementia and their care partners are invited to attend an interactive facilitated discussion of art images.  The Meadowlark Memory Program is free and open to the public.
  • Museum educators provide outreach and tours for Big Lakes Developmental Center.

Please contact Kathrine Schlageck or Kim Richards at the museum for more information at 785-532-7718. If you are interested in learning more about Meadowlark Hills public programs for memory and Parkinson’s support contact Michelle Haub at 785-323-3899.


Prairie Studies Initiative

During fiscal year 2017 the Prairie Studies Initiative (PSI) has continued on-going projects such as the Meadow and the hosting of the annual Tall Grass Artist Symposium, and undertaken new ones as well. Touch the Prairie, an interactive touch screen that links prairie-related artworks in the museum’s collection with natural science information about the prairie ecosystem, has taken on a double life. Programmer/artists Rose Marshack and Rick Valentin were able to further develop Touch the Prairie for installation on a large upright mobile touch screen. The creative work and equipment purchase were made possible by a gift from Jackie Hartman Borck and Lee Borck. The mobile touch screen was unveiled April 1, 2017 on the occasion of K-State Open House, and is now available to visitors in the museum’s galleries. We hope you will check it out on your next visit to the museum.

The touch table, its original platform, will ultimately return to the Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional and Community Planning. Before that, the interactive table will spend the academic year 2017-18 at the offices of the Kansas Board of Regents in Topeka as part of a display titled “Artistry and Innovation” representing the creative cross-disciplinary work of Kansas State University.

A suite of six high resolution photographs of prairie plants with their exceptionally long roots by Lindsborg-based photographer Jim Richardson has become part of the museum’s permanent collection. Two of these prints were part of the reinstallation of the permanent collection, opened last fall as part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

In May the museum took the lead role in submitting a proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts titled, “What can the arts teach us about communicating STEM content?” Associate Professor Shreepad Joglekar of the department of Art and I serve as co-principle investigators. The Salina-based Land Institute is our required non-arts partner organization; key support for the proposal comes from Todd Holmberg, executive director of McCain Performing Arts, and Dean of Libraries Lori Goetsch. The strong place-based and cross disciplinary focus of proposal activities make it an exciting next step for PSI. Fingers crossed!

– Linda Duke, Director


Exhibition Design: Moving the Mural

The Wall Map of Europe, painted by John Steuart Curry in 1928 is an impressive 16’ wide x 10’ tall mural, and the largest painting yet to be installed in the Beach Museum of Art galleries. The work, borrowed from the Burr Family Trust, required construction of a special “cradle” and use of a dedicated semi for its journey from Pennsylvania to the museum. Once it arrived, moving the painting from the museum’s lower level loading dock up to the West Seaton Gallery proved to be a logistical enigma. The lower level halls feature various exposed mechanical and electrical systems that jut out from the ceiling, restricting the movement of tall objects through those spaces. Think of trying to fit a grand piano up the stairwell of a New York City walk-up apartment. Once we determined a way to move the Curry mural through these hallways to the freight elevator, a new problem emerged. We realized that the elevator was too shallow to fit the painting.

After several days of deliberation, museum staff concluded that there was no feasible way to move the painting safely into the second-floor galleries. Later that evening, at around 9:30 p.m., staff member Luke Dempsey, sent out an email saying something like, “WAIT, I THINK I HAVE AN IDEA!” After creating a 3D CAD model of the elevator, it was then determined by Lindsay Smith, Sarah Price, Theresa Ketterer, and Luke Dempsey that the elevator would accommodate the mural only if the interior safety gates could be raised by ThyssenKrupp elevator technicians. This solution provided the few inches needed to bring the mural to the upstairs galleries. Thanks to our very dedicated team, and careful planning with the technicians, it worked! It took six trained staff and what seemed like a thirty-nine minute eternity, to move the massive mural approximately 400 feet. It now rests safely in West Seaton Gallery. We hope visitors enjoy this unusual artwork’s stay in the museum through fall 2017.

With deep appreciation to Joann Goldstein, whose gift made possible the transport and display of this painting,


– Luke Dempsey, Museum Technology and Design Coordinator, and Lindsay Smith, Exhibitions Designer