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Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lawrence artist creates Flint Hills mural

Lawrence artists Randall Bennett works on a mural of the Flint Hills he created for the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. Bennett has been working on the mural since May. The center is slated to open April 14.

Lawrence artists Randall Bennett works on a mural of the Flint Hills he created for the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. Bennett has been working on the mural since May. The center is slated to open April 14.

March 6, 2012

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Lawrence artist Randall Bennett accepted a tall task last May when he was hired to create a mural for the soon-to-open Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan.

Lawrence artist paints the Flint Hills

Randall Bennett, a Lawrence artist, is finishing up work on a 60-foot mural of the Flint Hills for the soon-to-be opened Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. Bennett said he hopes the mural will inspire people to see the Flint Hills in person. Enlarge video

Bennett, who operates Tall Grass Museum Services out of his Lawrence studio, is putting the finishing touches on a 28-foot-tall, 80-foot-long mural of the Flint Hills that stretches from the third-floor ceiling to the ground.

Bennett, who painted the mural in six sections at his studio, said he’s aiming for a “Flint Hills, pristine look."

“The intention, as an artist, was to make a really pretty Flint Hills landscape,” Bennett said.

The landscape is nearly complete, featuring tall prairie grasses and a river. Next up, adding a few animal sculptures, such as carp and a bison.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center, a 10,000-square-foot, $25 million interactive facility emphasizing the culture of Kansas’ tallgrass prairie, is slated to open April 14. The center will feature multimedia exhibits aimed at educating the public about the Flint Hills.

Bennett, a Williamsburg native, has lived in various parts of the United States during the past 30 years, working on murals, sculptures and dioramas for a variety of nature-themed facilities, such as the Dry Tortugas National Park’s Sea Turtle Exhibit in Homestead, Fla. In this area, he’s worked on the Clinton Lake Visitor Center.

Bennett is a Kansas State University graduate, and he said it was hard to pass up an opportunity to “give something back to the community.”

Just as important, he’s hoping to encourage an appreciation of the Flint Hills.

“I hope they want to go out and look at the Flint Hills,” Bennett said. “It’s an important piece of ecology.”

Instead of just cruising through the state on the highway, Bennett said he wants people to “get out there and look at the details.”

Comments

Joe Hyde 2 years, 1 month ago

Is it too late to leave out the carp and go straight to the bison?

The German carp is an introduced species brought to the U.S. from the Eureopen continent; it is not native to "pristine" Kansas.

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lawslady 2 years, 1 month ago

There are several sites devoted to tourism in Kansas, which tell all about things to do in Kansas. One could easily spend every weekend for many months, if not years, driving around Kansas to see all the many interesting sights. Here are just two sites to check out http://www.kansastravel.org/ and http://www.travelks.com/seedo Looking forward to seeing this new mural!

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FlintHillsDiscoveryCenter 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you so much for your comments and response to the article above. On behalf of the Flint Hills Discovery Center, we do in fact have a website: www.flinthillsdiscoverycenter.org, where you can learn more about what the FHDC will offer come April 14. In addition, if you are interested in learning more about Randall Bennett, please visit his website at: http://www.tallgrassmuseumservices.com/. Thanks again for your interest. We hope you come check us out soon!

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 1 month ago

This is a great project. There needs to be a web site of all the things about Kansas that can be seen in a real tour of the state.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center should merit several articles when it opens April 14. I was completely unaware of it before now.

This is a public art project and well it should be. I do hope, however, that there is a copyright on the content, so that proceeds from such things as postcards, reproductions in books, etc. can be divided between the Flint Hills Discovery Center and Randall Bennett. Both the Flint Hills Discovery Center and Bennett deserve wide public attention for this project. You don't make any mention in the article, but is there a web site?

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