On Saturday, October 18 more than 100 people gathered at the base of the Stone Barn Mercantile 1/2 mile north of Dexter on K-15 to watch Augusta artist Kerry Unrein put the finishing touches on the first mural completed for the Kansas Barn Alliance's sesquicentennial project.
The Kansas Barn Alliance requires that a sunflower (of any design), the word Kansas, and the years 1861-2011 be included in the painting. Barn owners Grady and Shannon Martin and artist Unrein decided to add a Kansas-version of Mount Rushmore to this barn. The faces belong to Dwight Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, Bob Dole, and former Governor Robert Docking. Docking lived and worked in nearby Arkansas City for many years.
It was a nice, sunny day and our lawn chair discussion included ideas for barn logos in other counties. One county is thinking of adding a silhouette of their courthouse. Another is considering using one symbol for each of the five towns in the county. The barn alliance is doing this to honor barns and the 150th birthday of Kansas. The plan is to have the logos completed by 2011 so the public can drive around the state in the sesquicentennial year and see the variety of drawings. What a great idea!
After the drawing, people meandered around the Martin's farm to pick pumpkins, walk through the corn maze, shop in the Stone Barn Mercantile, and look at the newly-opened log cabins. The Gathering Place, Henry's Candy, and Creek Water Wool Works were popular stops in Dexter.
This was the last 2008 destination for the Kansas Sampler Foundation's "Bring Your Own Lawn Chair" series. I think we made a dent in the public's awareness of issues and opportunities in towns of less than 500 population and we look forward to doing it again next year. A big thanks to the many Kansas Explorers Club members who formed the core of the lawn chair sitters!
Get Kansas! KE #2 Marci Penner