Crop muralist to recreate coin design in field

Crop muralist Stan Herd is recreating the design of the Kansas quarter in an alfalfa field near Hutchinson.

Alfalfa, dirt and rocks will be used to recreate the state’s quarter on a canvas that’s about the size of a football field.

Renowned crop muralist Stan Herd has been commissioned by the state to do an earthen rendition of the new Kansas quarter. The earthwork will be completed Saturday on an acre of an alfalfa field near Hutchinson.

The green alfalfa will serve as the backdrop. The buffalo will be carved into the land’s dark earth with alfalfa cuttings used to mark lighter areas of the well-known Kansas symbol.

“I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for the sunflowers yet,” Herd, a Lawrence resident, said of the massive depiction of the new coin he is preparing. “But I’ll figure it out.”

The earthwork is being done as part of the celebration of the Kansas quarter launch on Sept. 9. A poster-sized aerial photograph of the completed earthwork will be available for purchase at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson following the official ceremonies for the kickoff of the quarter.

“We believe this is the first-ever earthwork art to commemorate the release of a state’s quarter,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said. “Stan’s earthwork is a distinctive way to introduce the new Kansas quarter and to celebrate our state’s heritage.

The project is being funded by several groups, including SBC of Kansas, the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, the Topeka Community Foundation and the Kansas Museum of History Foundation. Employees of the organizations will be photographed standing on the border of the earthwork.

Herd said he agreed to do the earthwork piece because of his interest in the design of the coin. It may not have been the design he would have chosen, but Herd said he thinks it’s a “nice one.”

His role now is to try and create it through the earth.

Work on the project had a bit of a late start, Herd said. But he managed to find a farmer near Hutchinson who agreed to let his land be used.

“When I first went, the field was really droughty,” Herd said. “But since then, it’s rained every other day so it’s looking really nice. Plus, the area I chose is in a development tract, so there are houses and stores and bars surrounding it. It should be pretty interesting.”

Some nearby neighbors stopped to offer their assistance as he mapped out the earthwork with flags.