Courtland Arts Council: Blog http://courtlandarts.com/blog en-us (C) Courtland Arts Council courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:43:00 GMT Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:43:00 GMT http://courtlandarts.com/img/s12/v170/u323160167-o171430225-50.jpg Courtland Arts Council: Blog http://courtlandarts.com/blog 120 90 Road Trip Ideas for Kansas Explorers w/ Marci Penner http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/9/road-trip-ideas-for-kansas-explorers-w/-marci-penner

Courland Arts Center is hosting "Road Trip Ideas for Kansas Explorers"  September 28th from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. Free will donation and beverages provided. Presentation followed by Q&A, books for sale, and book signing. See attached for more information.

 

Facebook event - www.facebook.com/events/494209584248872/

 

Marci and WenDee will take the audience on a picture journey throughout the state sharing road trip ideas and telling stories about their research to every one of the 626 incorporated cities in Kansas. From restaurant suggestions to art, architecture, geography and more, they’ll give you a sampling of what to see in Kansas, share tips on how to explore, and talk about some favorite places in Republic County. The book is a project of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation. 

www.kansassampler.org

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) 2 arts book council courtland foundation guidebook kansas sampler signing the http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/9/road-trip-ideas-for-kansas-explorers-w/-marci-penner Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:43:13 GMT
Courtland Summer Arts Camp http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/7/courtland-summer-arts-camp

Waterworks Arts Camp! 

  • July 24th - 28th
  • 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
  • Ages 5 (must have completed K) to 6th grade 

Join us this year at the Courtland Arts Center for a week of fun! Following the Fun Day theme, your kids will be experiencing water through the arts. Music, crafts, movement, acting and more! Each day has its own agenda and can be attended individually or as a whole week of fun.  Guest artists from around the area will be dropping in to share their talents.

We will be at the Courtland Arts Center from 9 am to 12 noon each day, and you'll be able to see their projects and performances in a final display the Friday of Fun Day at 7:30 pm on Courtland Main Street. 

Please pre-register your child by texting Amanda Jo at 785-477-3364, with their name, age and number of days attending. You may also leave this information at the Swedish American State Bank. Pre-registration deadline is Friday July 21st. Full registration will be Monday morning July 24th from 9:00-9:30 am. Adult must be present to register. 

Watch the Courtland Arts Center Facebook page for all the details of each day! We can't wait to explore the arts with your kids! 

If you would like to volunteer please contact Amanda Jo Reisenweber for information and scheduling.

Facebook event - https://www.facebook.com/events/1797590830551830/

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) art arts camp center courtland summer http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/7/courtland-summer-arts-camp Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:53:56 GMT
Art of Healing http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/6/art-of-healing

In celebration of Pawnee Mental Health Services 60th anniversary, we would like to invite you to Courtland for the Art of Healing Exhibit. Monday, June 5th, 4-6pm. Light refreshments will be served remarks at 5 pm.

The Art of Healing Exhibit allows Kansas artists the opportunity to share their work. Specifically, this is work was done by artists who have experienced or been affected by healing through the process of making art. The exhibit is to create awareness of the healing nature of art, and to advocate for mental health awareness particularly during the 60th anniversary of Pawnee Mental Health Services. Pawnee serves a 10 county area in North Central Kansas including Republic, Jewell, Mitchell, Cloud, Washington, Marshall, Pottawatomie, Clay, Geary and Riley. In 2016 Pawnee served nearly 7,000 people.

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/6/art-of-healing Thu, 01 Jun 2017 14:17:28 GMT
53rd Courtland Fun Day http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/5/53rd-courtland-fun-day courtland fun day

JULY 28TH FRIDAY SCHEDULE

5:00 pm - 12:00pm - Beer Garden 
6:00 – 7:30 Masters BBQ Contest
• One-day Presale tickets Thursday, June 28th (outside Pinky’s). Remaining tickets available day of the event.
7:30 Local Entertainment: Art Camp / PV Cheerleaders / Dala Horse Races
• Duck Race / Medallion Hunt / Masters BBQ Winners Announced
8:00 Hot Air Balloon Rides at the PV Elm/JH field or Main Street *weather permitting*

STREET DANCE

9:00 pm - 1:00 am - Free Beer and Chicken

JULY 29TH SATURDAY SCHEDULE

MAIN EVENTS:

AM
7:30 Fun Run (awards announced immediately after children’s parade)
7:30 Methodist Church bake sale, at coffee shop
8:00 Sand Volleyball Tournament Sponsored by Budweiser
10:00-11:00 - NexTech Express: Train rides on Main street
11:00 Children’s Parade Theme: Favorite KBID Employee - call Lori, 374-4473 evening
11:30 General Parade: Theme: Irrigation in the Heart of the Nation - call City Office – 785-374-4260

PM
12:00 pm – 12:00 am - Beer Garden
1:00 pm Belly Slide & Children’s Water Games at the City Park
TBA – Dice Run around Courtland
TBA – Archery & Pellet Shoot -Waconda Strutting Dusters – Wild Turkey Federation - 785-374-4521
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm City Pool Open 
5:30 Bake walk by Eager Beavers 4-H Club in front of the Community Building
5:30 Pit Chicken BBQ
7:00 Corn Pile


STREET DANCE
8:00 – 10:00 Sons of The Republic
10:30 – 12:00 Adam Hood

BEER GARDEN ENTERTAINMENT
12:00-2:00 Mark Garman / Parallel Path
2:00-4:00 Dillon Cowing
4:00 Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament / Chicken Bingo 
4:00-6:00 Full Circle - Howard & Traci Reed
6:00-8:00 – Jared "Pete" Gile, Trevor Burgess, Tanner Johnson
9:00-12:00 am Karaoke with Chris Bridwell 

FOOD VENDORS:
Pinky's Bar & Grill in Courtland, Kansas 
Anteaques – Friday evening
Pit Chicken BBQ – Saturday evening
Summer Snow Shaved Ice - Belleville, KS
Tate’s Food Truck

JULY 30th 2017 SUNDAY SCHEDULE
2:00 Road Rally Starts. Sign up at CFD Beer Garden by 1:30

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland art arts center courtland day exhibit festival free fun kansas music republic sampler http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/5/53rd-courtland-fun-day Tue, 16 May 2017 20:24:19 GMT
Summer Art Camp http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/5/summer-art-camp courtland summer art camp

 Be sure to follow our Facebook event for updates on the Summer Art Camp hosted by the Courtland Arts Council! 

Camp will run from Monday July 24th - Friday July 28th with a performance Friday night of Courtland Fun Day on Main Street.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1797590830551830/

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland art arts camp center courtland day fun summer http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2017/5/summer-art-camp Tue, 16 May 2017 17:52:08 GMT
52nd Courtland Fun Day - July 29-31st http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/6/52nd-courtland-fun-day---july-29-31st CourtlandFunDay_Logo
 

JULY 29TH FRIDAY SCHEDULE

 

MAIN STREET

9:00 am - 1:00 pm - CMW - Methodist Church Bake Sale - Proceeds to City/Rural Fire Department

5:00 - 7:00 - AnTeaQues Meal

7:30 Local Entertainment:

  • Art Camp / PV Cheerleaders / Dala Horse Races
  • Duck Race / Medallion Hunt / Masters BBQ Winners Announced

9:00 - 12:00 - PVHS Cheerleader Food Stand

 

FREE STREET DANCE - - Sponsored by Channel Seed   

8:00 - 12:00   - FREE BEER & CHICKEN  

 

BEER GARDEN - Sponsored by Pinky’s Bar & Grill

  • 7:00 - 12:00 am - Beer Garden
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Masters BBQ Contest - Presale tickets only July 1st outside Pinky’s

 

JULY 30TH SATURDAY SCHEDULE

 

MAIN EVENTS

AM

7:30 Fun Run (awards announced immediately after children’s parade)

9:00 Sand Volleyball Tournament Sponsored by Budweiser

10:00-11:00 - NexTech Express: Train rides on Main street

11:00 Children’s Parade Theme: Favorite Politician - Questions call Lori , 374-4473 evening 1

1:30 General Parade: Theme: Election Year - Questions call Carla Slinker – 785-374-4260

PM

1:00 - 5:00 Tin Cup Golf - Pick up score cards in Beer Garden

1:00 Charity Poker Run: Sign up in beer garden 12:00-1:00

1:00 - 3:00 Belly Slide & Children’s Games at the City Park

TBA – Archery & Pellet Shoot -Waconda Strutting Dusters – Wild Turkey Federation - 785-374-4521

3:00 – 4:00 City Pool Open

4:00 Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament / Chicken Bingo - BEER GARDEN

5:30 Kids Games at the Mini Park by Eager Beavers 4-H Club

5:30 Pit Chicken BBQ 7:00 Corn Pile

8:00 Hot Air Balloon Rides at the PV Elm/JH field

9:00 Kids sit in movie in the 'Root-Beer Garden’ next to the Vet Clinic

 

FREE STREET DANCE - Sponsored by Channel Seed 

8:00 - 9:30 Howard Reed 

10:00 - 12:00 BART CROW 

 FunDay_BartCrow (1)

 

BEER GARDEN - LIVE MUSIC - Sponsored by Pinky’s Bar & Grill

12:00 pm – 12:00 am - Beer Garden Open

12:00-2:00 Tobias Boese

2:00-4:00 Parellel Path - Corbin Larson

4:00-6:00 Sons of the Republic - Craig Stensaas / Casey Dailey

6:00-8:00 Trevor Burgess and friends

9:00-12:00 Karaoke with Chris Bridwell

 

FOOD VENDORS

Pinky’s Bar & Grill – Open Friday - Saturday - Breakfast starts at 11:00 pm

AnTeaQues - Friday only PVHS Cheerleaders - Friday only

Summer Sno - Friday & Saturday

Porky’s Taquitoz - Food Truck - Friday & Saturday

Tate’s Food Wagon - Friday & Saturday

PV Spanish Class - Roasted Corn - Saturday Only

 

JULY 31ST - SUNDAY SCHEDULE

2:00 Road Rally Starts. Sign up at CFD Beer Garden by 1:30.

 

*Buy CFD merchandise and register for events at www.squareup.com/store/courtland-fun-day*  

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) bart central concert country courtland crow day dirt fair free fun kansas live music nck north red texas http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/6/52nd-courtland-fun-day---july-29-31st Mon, 20 Jun 2016 18:47:42 GMT
Importance of Being Earnest - Community Play http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/3/community-play  

Courtland Arts Center is set to host the second annual community theatre production April 15-17. For more information regarding tickets, contact Tanner Johnson at the Swedish American State Bank 785-374-4231. 


This year's production is Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. The theatre company will be presenting a modernized version of this classic comedic work. Wilde's iconic flare for comedic situations and witty, irreverent dialogue inspired the writings of numerous humorists, and provided a template for British farce and American sitcoms. 


Being Earnest is a stylish satire of high society featuring mistaken identities, misguided lovers, overbearing relatives, and one misplaced handbag. The director describes the play as, “a cross between Downton Abbey and Monty Python.” 


Featured cast in this year’s production include Steve Benne, Tony Tebow, Rana Cline, Amanda Reisenweber, Jessica Tebow, Barb Langston, Shannon Langston, and Elijah Moore. The three performances will be held at the Courtland Arts Center. The cast and crew of The Importance of Being Earnest hope to see you there!
 

  • Friday April 15th, show time will be at 7:00 PM. Seating will be general admission with tickets costing $5. 

  • Saturday night’s performance will include dinner. Cocktails will be served at 5:30 with a meal at 6:00 and show time at 7:00. Tickets will cost $30 and seating is limited. 

 

  • Sunday will be a matinee. Show time is at 2:00. Seating is general admission with ticket cost of $5.
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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Kansas arts center community exhibit theatre http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/3/community-play Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:24:00 GMT
April Fool's Day Edition - Five Pound Art Auction http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/3/april-fools-day-edition---5-lb-art-auction  

Join us for our annual Five Pound Art Auction! Artfully disguise something worth $25 or more and bring it that evening. Make sure the item weighs five pounds or better! We will then auction the items, with all proceeds going toward Summer Art Camp.

50-50 & KC Royals Tickets Raffle, too! Refreshments will be served.

Like and follow us on Facebook here - www.facebook.com/courtlandarts/

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Kansas art arts center county courtland exhibit free kansas republic royals tickets tourism http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/3/april-fools-day-edition---5-lb-art-auction Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:01:15 GMT
Climate & Energy Central: Doing Science in Kansas http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/1/climate-science-exhibit

Courtland exhibit features research on renewable energy, climate change

An exhibit in Courtland through February 29 will focus on Kansas scientists who work to address renewable energy and potential climate change. Four modules are on display at the Courtland Arts Center and can be seen by calling 785-527-0941 or email nick@jenrusfreelance.com.

•Farmscapes examines how land is used and the choices Kansas farmers make.

•Climate Science focuses on collecting local data and looking for braod climate trends, what the trends mean, and their impact on future decisions.

•Energy presents research to find better way to harest the sun’s energy, exploring prtoein based solar cells and nanotechnology.

•Pathways explores how Native american traditions can be used for a balanced relationship with nature.

The exhibit was previous on display at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan and other sites around the state. The research is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The Courtland Arts Center received a Duclos Foundation grant to bring the exhibit to Republic County.

Read more about this exhibit here - http://www.nsfepscor.ku.edu/highlight-15.html

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Foundation Kansas National Science agriculture arts center climate county discovery exhibit farmscape flint hills republic science http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/1/climate-science-exhibit Thu, 07 Jan 2016 17:21:46 GMT
Cork & Canvas http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/10/cork-canvas

Cork & Canvas 


Courtland Arts Council presents a Cork & Canvas event.  Instructor will be Denise Dove from the The Heart of Belleville art council. 

  • Cost is $35 per person

  • Canvas and paint is supplied

  • BYOB of choice wine, beer, etc. 

  • 18 spots available

  • Call or text Nick Levendofsky to RSVP - 785-527-0941

Event will be held at the Courtland Arts Center at 421 Main St. Courtland, Kansas 66939.

 


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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) and art canvas center cork courtland kansas http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/10/cork-canvas Wed, 14 Oct 2015 15:46:45 GMT
An Evening in Columbia - Josh Lippold Art Exhibit http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/9/an-evening-in-columbia---josh-lippold-art-exhibit

Courtland Arts Center Presents

An Evening in Columbia - Josh Lippold Art Exhibit

Saturday September 26th, 2015 - 6:30 PM

Mankato native Josh Lippold has brewed up his own flavor of caffeinated artwork that incorporates coffee, wine and recycled parchment. Josh will present live demonstration along with a gallery of his artwork. Come join us at the Courtland Arts Center for and evening of Columbian inspired coffee, wine, appetizers and music.

Follow the Arts Center on Facebook here - www.facebook.com/courtlandarts

 

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) art arts center courtland exhibit josh lippold http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/9/an-evening-in-columbia---josh-lippold-art-exhibit Mon, 21 Sep 2015 19:53:55 GMT
5 lb Art Auction http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/4/5-lb-art-auction 5 Pound Art Auction Poster

Courtland Arts Center

5 Pound Art Auction - Friday, April 24th - 7:30 pm
Adult beverages & hors d'oeuvres will be available

Start planning your masterpiece! Use your imagination and creativity to create your own work of art. By using color, texture, design or just whatever is around the house or barn, disguise something of a $25 value or more. Make it weigh 5 pounds, give or take a pound or two, just so we can't tell what the disguised item is! 

All art will be on display that evening and auctioned to the highest bidder. If you just don't think you are the creative type that's OK, we need bidders too. All proceeds from the auction will go towards summer art camp.

Please bring auction items to the Swedish American State Bank April 20 – 24, or the night of the auction.

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Kansas arts center courtland exhibit kansas http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/4/5-lb-art-auction Tue, 07 Apr 2015 23:15:26 GMT
Courtland community theater to re-create 40s-era live radio broadcast http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/3/courtland-community-theater-to-re-create-40s-era-live-radio-broadcast

By Deb Hadachek Belleville Telescope editor

Courtland community theater will go on the air Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 27-29, when a cast of 19 local actors from Courtland and Scandia perform Radio Daze.

The performances Friday evening at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday carry a $5 admission price. Saturday night will include a dinner theater, and tickets must be purchased in advance at the Swedish American State Bank in Courtland.

Radio Daze is an original production based on a 1940s radio comedy show adapted by Gretchen Barclay and directed by Leigh Gritten.

“This is a little bit of a Tom Sawyer fence project,” Barclay laughs. “Tanner Johnson said ‘I think we should have community theater at the Arts Center’.” I started looking for a radio-style script, because actors don’t need to memorize dialogue--they can just show up. But I couldn’t find any scripts that were funny or appropriate.

“I did find a couple old books at the Frank Carlson Library in Concordia from the 40s and 50s that had radio-style comedy scripts for high school drama classes. I wrote a plot to connect them together, put out a casting call, and we had 17 people show up.”

Cast members range from high school to senior citizens. The cast includes a granddaughter and both her grandmothers.

Radio Daze will feature seven radio comedy sketches from the 1940s. The show will include commercials, want ads, and church announcements. The skit titles include “Wrong Train”, “The Runaway Pirate” and “The Sound Effects Man.” Some Big Band music,a bit of dancing, forties fashions and hairstyles will help to take the audience back in time. The plot centers on the search for a missing radio sound effects man, which requires the cast members to do their own sound effects for their skits.

Cast members are Audrey Gritten, Barb Langston, Brayden Carlgren, Carl Segerhammar, Elijah Moore, Hannah Mahin, Jone Rodgers, Kathy Kuhn, Luke Mahin, Mike Gritten, Nick Levendofsky, Pam Isaacson, Payton Isaacson, Rana Cline, Ruthie Sederlin, Shannon Langston, Steve Benne, Tony Tebow, and Tiana Sothers.

Cast members have been rehearsing twice a week for several months, Barclay says. She estimates this is the first time a local theater performance has been staged in Courtland on this scale for 25 years.

“It’s sometimes tough for people to commit to something like this when they have day jobs,” she says. “They’re very prepared and have really brought this to life,” she says.

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Daze Kansas Radio arts center community council performance theater http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/3/courtland-community-theater-to-re-create-40s-era-live-radio-broadcast Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:13:46 GMT
Radio Daze - Courtland Community Play http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/3/radio-daze

"Radio Daze" to Hit The Stage 

Community Theatre to Showcase 19 Locals 

by Gretchen Barclay

Make plans to attend "Radio Daze", an original community theater production by the Courtland Arts Center. This radio style comedy features 19 area actors playing a wide variety of parts in seven skits. The addition of ads, music and features you might have heard in the 1940’s, both remember and spoof this era of classic radio. 
The adaptation created by Gretchen Barclay from vintage scripts is under the direction of Leigh Gritten. 

Radio Daze will be presented on March 27, 28, &29. The opening performance on Friday, March 27 will begin at 7pm, with tickets purchased at the door for $5.00. A 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday, March 29, is also $5.00. 

Saturday night will feature a dinner theater for $30. Dinner theater tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance from the Swedish American Bank, Courtland or the Styleaire Beauty Salon, Scandia.

Stay tuned for further updates. 

 

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Community Courtland Daze Play Radio arts center county courtland events kansas republic http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/3/radio-daze Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:30:14 GMT
Halfway from then to there http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/2/halfway-from-then-to-there  

(C)TOM PARKER

Tom Parker, pictured with his wife Lori, was commissioned by the Courtland Arts Council to document the 50th Courtland Fun Day. This is the speech he gave at the photo exhibit, January 31st, half-way point to our next Fun Day. Click to view the photos from Friday or Saturday.

       What I remember, what comes to me most strongly now in the opening stages of a winter that leaves me chilled to the bone, was the heat. It radiated off the pavement of downtown Courtland like a living thing bent on incinerating the throngs of people lining the streets and charring the cars and the trucks and the colorful floats making their slow, languorous way down Main Street. It seared the rubbery skin of the amusement park inflatables in city park until they threw back their own infernal heat like so many orange-black coals smoldering in the grass below the silvery dome of the water tower. The heat soaked into everything—the grass and the pavement and the white sands of the volleyball pits and the metal frames of the cars and the bricks and the glass and the benches and the enclosed oven-like prison of the beer garden—so that it seemed to emanate from all angles and all sides, infinite and inescapable.

        Bad as it was—113 degrees on the heat index scale, a number that seemed laughingly low—the sizzling heat was like a balmy spring day compared to the hellish conditions cloying the cinderblock barbecue pit tucked in a corner by the alley where hundreds of chicken halves were roasted en masse, the smoke of their blistered skin rising like a diaphanous pillar into a pale cerulean sky bereft of clouds or color or the slightest whisper of a breeze. The bodies of those red-faced workers cleaning and cutting and sorting and spicing and grilling those truncated chickens steamed in the blast furnace temperature, their clothes, stained by an accretion of crystalized salt, pasted to their forms like wet paint. They guzzled liquids and Taterade, a potent, sweet concoction of gin, lemonade, lemons, oranges, limes and powdered sugar, until they felt waterlogged and giddy, and batting away the flies unceasingly labored over the smoking, cherry-red coals, unpacking fresh chicken halves and sliding them into wire cages by the tens and twenties, uncomplaining and unstoppable, certain of their role, the part they played in a custom that stretched back five decades.

         It was the 50th anniversary of Courtland’s annual Fun Day—two days, actually, though the first day somehow didn’t count as if it were merely a practice run prefacing the main event—and Lori and I were there to photograph it from start to finish. During that long weekend we put in gruelingly long hours, witnessed every facet of every event regardless of the atmospheric extremes and became, in essence, honorary residents. And now, midway between the 50th and the 51st, we’ve been invited back for a discussion on the festivities from an outsiders’ point of view.

        Which is easier said than done. Normally I keep copious notes of our travels in a diary I’ve kept since 1973, but upon our return from Courtland, crispy and fried and altogether exhausted, we faced similarly long hours in our other jobs and, in my case, deadlines that brooked no delays. Unfortunately, writing my autobiography always plays second fiddle to writing for pay, plus there were more than 4,000 images of Courtland to cull and process. My own historical record would forever have a gap, like the Nixon tapes only less contestable.

        With the absence of written reflections, all I had to go on was my memory, and that wasn’t too good. During four of the six months separating then from now, medications for nerve damage brought on by shingles have left me with short-term memory loss and random misfiring of my cerebral synapses. To be fair I had been warned that the drugs could make me suicidal, homicidal or stupid. Thankfully the first two never materialized.

        The stupid part they nailed on the head. And while most of the effects have faded to near-obscurity, I have occasional moments when my mind goes blank, when simple things such as our address or phone number are temporarily wiped from my brain, when I forget where I’m at or what I was doing or where I was going. It can be quite comical at times. The medication also provides a legitimate excuse for my behavior, which isn’t an altogether bad thing.

        It doesn’t, however, help me much in dredging up a coherent recollection of those two days.

        I realized early on that my photographs would have to fill in the missing blanks. Fortunately, for memory’s sake, the thousands of images catalogued in Lightroom are as sequential as possible when using two cameras. Sitting in my cool—sometimes too cool—home office, I could recreate the entire experience from start to finish, and, too, I could see my failures as well as my triumphs.

        In retrospect, given enough time to make lens changes (always a logistical challenge when one’s camera bag is two or three blocks away and suddenly, in the middle of the action, the photographer decides a speciality lens would be the preferred choice) I would have done some things differently. I would have asked the organizers for clouds to filter the sun. I would have kept myself more hydrated than I did, though to the town’s credit cold water was offered everywhere I went, and lemonade—or what I thought to be lemonade but wasn’t—was generously offered at the chicken pit. I was a little fuzzy on the details of what I was drinking, having misunderstood “Taterade” for “lemonade” thanks to hearing loss and what I was beginning to believe was the onset of heat stroke, and fuzzier still were the subsequent images taken in the aftermath after I staggered dazed and blistered from the chicken pit, weighed down with an alcoholic buzz and a brace of heavy cameras. While technically not perfect, those images, too, tell the story.

        There were other misunderstandings, including one specific to Republic County. Somewhere during that first afternoon I was approached by a very nice woman who told me how much she appreciated my work. She introduced me to her family, and we talked together off and on for two days. It wasn’t until the second day, however, that she realized that I was not, in fact, Jim Richardson, the famed National Geographic photographer who has done so much to tell the story of neighboring Cuba. Perhaps it’s inevitable that any grizzled, bearded, Nikon-toting, broad-brimmed-hat wearing  photographer in Republic County will be automatically assumed to be Richardson, though it plays havoc with the hapless, non-Richardsonian photographer’s ego.

        It comes to me that my tale is anything but sequential. Though our lives follow a proscribed trajectory rooted in the movement of planets and galaxies pinwheeling through the universe, our memory is rarely linear. Sometimes arbitrary, sometimes peculiar in the details it summons, memory is a will-of-the-wisp. It goes where it will. Just now I was brought to the irrigation canal west of town for the annual duck race, witnessed by a handful of volunteers who dumped a box of plastic duckies over a foaming head gate and zoomed downstream to be ready for their painfully slow arrival. There were no cheering throngs urging their duckies toward greater haste, no crescendo of anticipation as the vanguard duckies neared the finish line, only the soft whir of grasshoppers and the sluggish whisper of water lapping the side of the canoe. A truck drove by dragging a plume of dust that rose into the air and drifted to earth with much the same pace as that of the duckies. Beers were popped to mark the occasion, though I wisely refrained.

        From the clamorous Drum Safari to the closing strands of Logan Mize’s electrifying concert, we tried to capture not just the outward manifestations of a small town celebration, but the very essence of Courtland culture and Courtland talent. Like other Kansas celebrations, there were the requisite cheering squads and local musicians and dancers and gymnasts, and parades where tractors and combines outnumbered vehicles ten to one. Unlike other Kansas celebrations, Courtland presented the non-requisite but nevertheless wildly entertaining whistling bellybuttons who resembled nothing more than grotesque Mr. Potato Heads wearing abbreviated tuxedos, top hats and copious amounts of red lipstick, the non-Celtic version of Riverdance as envisioned by energetic Courtland males, and a delightful choreography involving a bevy of neon-garbed beauties wielding folding lawn chairs. Fun day, or days, indeed.

        We were surprised at the number of young people and children present, and of how many events were created with them in mind. From banging on drums and skillets, making paper umbrellas for drinks, rooting through piles of corn for quarters and nickels and dimes, to the gigantic slip-and-slide in the park, children seemed to be involved in almost every facet of the celebration. They were the first to take to the streets when the music fired up in the evening and shadows hung long and the first break in the heat brought a sense of relief, and they were the last to leave when the final cords died away in the starlight. On the second day, not long after the trash men swept the streets of refuse, they were the first to emerge to congregate near the starting line for the races, barely able to contain their enthusiasm not merely as bystanders but as participants. They are the future of Courtland; they are future Courtland.

        We were also surprised at the town’s apparent prosperity, and the sheer number of volunteers it took to make everything happen. With a population of 285, almost everybody had a role of some sort, however minor. Very few towns can pull that off.

        And that, perhaps, was what struck me most. When on the final afternoon I stood atop the elevator and snapped four frames, one for each cardinal direction, little did I know that I was looking at the past and the future. There wasn’t much to see other than endless agricultural fields disappearing into misty horizons and the long shadow of the elevator stretching into the east along the railroad tracks, but that emptiness spoke of constant change.

        In 1885, when the town was founded, the county population stood at about 17,000 people. It was the frontier, the vanguard of western expansion. Five years later, when the first U.S. Census of Population was released, the director of the Census Bureau announced that the American frontier was closed. American settlement had reached the Pacific Ocean. The process of filling in the gaps began in earnest. In 1893, during an address to the American Historical Association, the historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented a paper on the significance of the frontier in American history, arguing that the frontier experience was critical to the definition of the American experience, especially in regions such as the Great Plains which had grown rapidly over the course of the previous century.

        To Turner, the frontier was the “meeting point between savagery and civilization.” It was what every generation of Americans had returned to as they were pulled evermore westward on a continually advancing frontier line, and what had made them what they were, with a “coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness,” with a “practical inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients, that masterful grasp of material things… that restless, nervous energy, that dominant individualism.” And until Americans discovered to their chagrin that their relentless westward expansion had but one insurmountable boundary—the Pacific Ocean—the frontier in mind and reality was always on the far side of the sunset.

        The trend is now reversing. The Great Plains are emptying out. Looking west into the lowering sun I saw the new American frontier, counties defined as those having fewer than six residents per square mile. Republic County totters on the edge, with a mere seven residents per square mile, and surrounding counties are heading in the same direction. There are fewer people here now than at any time during the Courtland’s 129-year history, and the same could be said for the county as a whole.

        But Courtland is holding on. Population decline has leveled off, young families are moving back, median income is rising. It has a vibrant arts community and it really knows how to throw a party. It is a community in every sense of the word—in the best sense of the word, and it isn’t giving up like some towns that will, within our lifetimes, simply disappear from the map. That fierce, implacable determination to never give up is the same driving force that Turner ascribed to the pioneers as the foundation of the American character.

        I wondered what Turner would think if he could look down on Courtland from my aerial perch. I imagine the sight of such vast uninhabited reaches would have both confused and amazed him, for his synopsis of the closing of the frontier was not merely an analysis of the past but a premonition about the future. If, he suggested, the frontier had been so essential to the development of the quintessential American character, how would that character fare with its closing? At the time of its writing, his question had no answer. It was merely rhetorical, a means to an end, and the end was this: “And now four centuries from the discovery of America,” he wrote, “at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American history.”

        Surely, then, the second period of American history was one of expansion and retreat, of boom and bust and the great outward migration to urban centers. The transformation of the Great Plains would have baffled Turner, even as if sometimes baffles its residents. Sometimes the best we can do is not enough, and sometimes our hopes and dreams burn to ashes. But prairie people are good at enduring, and good at not giving up. Looking down on Courtland, having enduring a day and a half of celebratory exuberance with the best yet to come, I had an inkling that Fun Day was more than just an annual hoe-down, but somehow symbolic of the town’s conviction about its place in the future. It would not disappear without a fight. It would not fade away with a whimper of regret.

        High above the town, on the outskirts of the new frontier, at the opening of the third period of American history, I saw Courtland rising.

- Tom Parker

View more of Tom's work www.dispatchesfromkansas.com

 Friday photos- www.courtlandarts.com/50thcfdfriday

Saturday photos - www.courtlandarts.com/50thcfdsaturday

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Arts Center Courtland Day Fun Kansas Parker Photo Tom exhibit http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/2/halfway-from-then-to-there Wed, 04 Feb 2015 23:48:46 GMT
Cocktails & Appetizers http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/1/cocktails-appetizers Cocktails & Appetizers at the beginning of a meal are often the most memorable, so why not make an evening out of it.

Join Travis, Kitty, Tanner and Kathy for an evening of their favorite appetizers, cocktails, wine and beer.

Learn to create a perfect Moscow Mule, Brewing Tips from a local brewer or how to pair wine with the perfect appetizer or cheese.

Call Tanner or Peggy at the bank 785-374-4231 for tickets.

 
 

 

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Arts Center Courtland Kansas exhibit http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/1/cocktails-appetizers Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:37:28 GMT
50th Courtland Fun Day Photo Exhibit http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/1/50th-courtland-fun-day-photo-exhibit

To celebrate the 1/2 way point to Courtland Fun Day Tom Parker will be joining us to talk about his experience documenting our 50th Courtland Fun Day commissioned by the Courtland Arts Council. 

*Hors d'oeuvres and beverages provided.
*Over 900 photos will be displayed on slideshow after Tom's presentation.
*Prints from the exhibit will be available to purchase online after the event.
*Admission - free will donation.

Some of the photos from the 50th CFD photo project can be viewed at -http://www.dispatchesfromkansas.com/2014/07/courtland-fun-days-very-best-of-small.html 

Tom Parker Bio:

Tom Parker is a professional freelance photographer and staff writer for the Washington County News, a columnist for Grass and Grain, and freelance writer and photographer for the Marysville Advocate and several agricultural organizations. He has received multiple writing awards from the Kansas Press Association, the Heart of America Gold Award from the Kansas City Press Club, and the Kansas News Enterprise Award from the William Allen White Foundation at the University of Kansas. He has also received several awards for photography from the Kansas Press Association, and partnered with the Smithsonian Institution on a year-long documentary project in Blue Rapids.

Tom and his wife, Lori, live in Blue Rapids.

 

 

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courtlandartscouncil@gmail.com (Courtland Arts Council) Courtland Day Fun Kansas Parker Photo Tom exhibit http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2015/1/50th-courtland-fun-day-photo-exhibit Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:28:49 GMT