Nine members of the Chadron State College Art Guild toured museums, galleries, exhibit design firms and arts organizations in the Kansas City area last week.
They met with CSC graduate Alexis Woodall, spoke with other professionals, viewed demonstrations and discovered more about possible career paths related to art and museum studies.
Sarah Polak, director of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, and art professor Mary Donahue accompanied the group.
Polak said it was a really valuable experience for CSC students to tour Traub Design Associates and meet the professionals who created and installed the large black-and-white historical photo displays in the main hallway of CSC’s Old Admin.
While visiting the business owned and operated by the Traub family, CSC students saw the entire process from designing to building interpretive museum displays.
Later, they saw completed Traub exhibits at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site in Olathe, Kan.
Mahaffie is one of the few remaining stagecoach stops on the Santa Fe Trail and the only one preserved as a public historic site. It includes crop ground, livestock, working horse teams, gardens and more.
Woodall, who works as an interpreter at the Mahaffie Heritage Center, arranged for the group from her alma mater to eat lunch in the historic farm house on the grounds.
Art Guild members Julya Briseno of Kenosha Wisc., and Macee Kellner of Bucklin, Kan., said they especially enjoyed sitting in the stagecoach and wondered how a reported 23 people could possibly ride in and on it.
During their visit at Mahaffie, the CSC students were able to observe groups of schoolchildren participating in pioneer chores on the farm such as hauling water and firewood. Polak said the interactive nature of the site creates memorable learning opportunities.
Another impressive part of the trip included a tour of the Hallmark corporate headquarters and the Crown Center.
Briseno and Kellner said they learned about the cost and detail work involved in designing and creating holiday ornaments as described by a Hallmark sculptor. Like other company artists, he spends one day a week away from his studio interacting with guests and explaining his craft.
Briseno said she learned Winston Churchill was a painter from one of the displays in the Hallmark Visitors Center which includes a museum and theater.
Other trip highlights, according to Briseno and Kellner, included two large spider sculptures at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Kellner had visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art before but was pleased to tour the sculpture garden and contemporary art collection for the first time. Briseno said she was excited about her first visit to Nelson-Atkins.
Additional stops for the group included the Kansas City Art Institute and the Mid America Art Alliance which has provided many of the exhibits hosted over the years at the CSC Sandoz Center.
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