Kansas State University


Beach Blog

Tag: 2017 Annual Report

Friends of the Beach Museum of Art

The annual greeting to the Friends of the Beach Museum of Art from that year’s President traditionally notes the excitement and resurgence of energy that fall brings to both town and gown in a university community.  The community itself is renewed and charged with excitement and activity as students return to make their lives here in Manhattan.

Getting to know and work together with the lively, engaged, talented people who are the Friends of the Beach Museum Board has been a pleasure and an education to me in the last couple of years, and I encourage everyone who receives this letter to join in more active participation in the work of the Friends. This past year’s organization into subcommittees affords ample scope for many talents—hosting visitors at talks, openings, and performances, participating in educational initiatives and public outreach, engaging in research on how the public uses our galleries, and helping maintain The Meadow. Well-organized, enthusiastic people are always needed for carrying out these activities.

In this era of persistent emphasis on STEM disciplines, it is well to remember that more and more recent research is providing scientific evidence of the central importance and manifold implications of arts education and experience for human development.  Matthew Arnold was not wrong to include among “the powers which go to the building up of human life” the power of beauty, which answers to a profound need in human nature.  In the Beach Museum, we have a unique resource for the cultivation of that aesthetic–and I think I might say psychological– development.  Your ideas, enthusiasm, engagement and support can help us to reach new audiences with all that the Beach Museum has to offer, enhancing its value to clients from the schoolchildren of USD 383 who participate in the now annual Early Expressions art show, to retirees who enjoy recharging their sensibilities at our shows, or on our sponsored trips to other museums and exhibits in the region.

Look forward to a new year of imaginative, intriguing, thought-provoking experiences with the arts, and keep October 7th on your calendar for our Art in Motion Festival.  Quoting our former president, Sarah Hancock,

Invite a friend to join us! Like our college town on move-in day, the Friends experience a jolt of energy when new people arrive. New members keep our perspectives fresh and maintain our role as a strong financial contributor to the museum. Success builds on success. Look for people who feel the same spark you do, and help them grow and connect through the transformation art offers.

– Michael L. Donnelly, president


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