Art enthusiasts will have a chance tonight to see all nine of the large-scale paintings done by noted Kansas artist Stan Herd as part of a state project to promote culture and tourism.
The richly hued works won't be for sale, however. Next month, they'll be given away by the Kansas Lottery to those who bought specially designated tickets. Each has a value of about $5,000.
Herd, who's known internationally for his crop art as well as his paintings and film work, will be at Artifacts Gallery, 4729 E. Douglas, tonight to talk to visitors. He'll have other paintings as well as prints and postcards at the gallery for sale.
Herd was commissioned last fall by the Lottery office to paint images inspired by the state's nine Scenic Byways. The routes represent different regions of the state, including the Flint Hills, Prairie Trails, Post Rock, Smoky Valley, Wetlands, Gypsum Hills and Glacial Hills.
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Money raised by the sale of the special lottery tickets will go to help with upkeep of the highways.
Herd said he was excited about participating in a project to raise awareness of the beauty of Kansas as well its cultural richness.
"I have spent my whole life traveling around the state," said Herd, who grew up in southwest Kansas. "I was interested in exploring what I could do as an artist that would have a long reach."
He visited all nine scenic byways, doing some painting on site but also working from photographs and visions inspired by what he saw.
Although the works share characteristics naturally expected in landscape paintings — rolling hills, cloud-filled skies — each has a distinctive style that gives it a one-of-a-kind stamp.
Herd shied away from naming a favorite scenic byway, but admitted a fondness for the Gyp Hills, which are near where he grew up.
"My father would take me hunting around there when I was a boy," he said. "The images of the huge cottonwood trees are something that always stay with me."
His travels, as well as his work with Kansas cultural and tourism officials, have convinced him of the depth of artistic talent by Kansans in all genres.
"In my mind, what Kansas is experiencing right now is a new kind of prairie renaissance in everything from films to art to music," he said.
Artifacts Gallery, where the paintings will be on view tonight, is owned by Amy Herd, who is married to Stan Herd's brother. This is the first time all nine of the paintings have been assembled in Wichita, she said.
"And this will be the last time they will all be together, too," she said.
The works will be given away in a drawing on Nov. 13 to people who mailed in losing lottery tickets in the special Made in Kansas game. Most of those tickets have been sold, although some were still available at two locations in Wichita: Food Mart at 14th Street and Market, and Phillips 66 Presto at 47th Street South and Broadway.
Mailed entries must be received in Topeka no later than Nov. 10. Other state agencies involved in the special promotion were the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Department of Commerce.
If you go
'scenic byways' by stan herd
What: Kansas artist Stan Herd will display all nine of his large-scale paintings in the state's Scenic Byways promotion
Where: Artifacts Gallery, 4729 E. Douglas
When: 6-9 p.m. today
How much: Admission free.