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Morning Sun
  • Coal bucket artists tabbed

  • Oversized coal buckets will line Broadway Avenue this summer and display artists’ answers to the question of what makes Southeastern Kansas great?



    The list of 26 artists selected to participate in the project was released Tuesday and includes veteran artists and some for whom this is their first opportunity of this sort.

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  • (This story originally contained an incomplete list of artists due to a partial list provided to The Morning Sun.)
    Oversized coal buckets will line Broadway Avenue this summer and display artists’ answers to the question of what makes Southeastern Kansas great?
    The list of 26 artists selected to participate in the project was released Tuesday and includes veteran artists and some for whom this is their first opportunity of this sort.
    “It’s exciting. I feel really fortunate,” said Susan Robinson, a first-time art contest participant.
    She said artists have been asked not to say much about their specific designs, but hers will be based on the area’s mined lands.
    “My whole theme is Mined Land Wildlife,” Robinson said. “When I saw the coal bucket, and that ‘What Southeast Kansas means to you’ is the theme, I thought that was a good way to showcase what has turned into a good situation.”
    Gary Lofts’ proposed design, entitled “Southeast Kansas, Built by Hard Work and Pride,” also was selected, and he said he is excited about the project to come.
    Lofts has been a professional artist for 25 years and said one of the highlights of his career was painting the 20x60-foot centennial mural depicting the history of Arma on the side of the old Chico building at Third and Washington.
    He also has taught art in the Arma schools for about 15 years, and he said he was excited to be chosen to participate.
    “It will be good,” he said. “I’m sure it’s going to be quite a display. We’d kind of like to keep it a surprise for the unveiling of the buckets, but you’ll see a lot of exciting designs.”
    Both Lofts and Robinson said the artists’ timeframe will be tight.
    The majority of the buckets are scheduled to arrive in Pittsburg on March 22 and must be completed by April 22.
    “We only get one month, so I’m hoping I can get it done in that time,” Robinson said.
    Lofts agreed that the deadline is tight, but said that isn’t a bad thing with the way he works.
    “It’s really tight, but it’s doable,” Lofts said. “The way I work I like to get started on it and I like to get them finished.”
    Steve Robb, a steering committee member who got the idea rolling, said the contest judges had a tough time selecting designs.
    “The jury said they had a lot of trouble,” Robb said. “All of the submissions were very high quality.”
    He said many of the artists will be painting the white fiberglass buckets, but that other mediums will be used, including photography and ceramic.
    Page 2 of 2 - Each bucket will be 4 feet tall, approximately 4 feet long and 32 inches wide, and follow in the pattern of cow parades in Chicago, Kansas City and other municipalities, but also seek to reflect the area’s heritage.
    “We talked about a lot of different things,” Robb said. “The big thing was that we wanted to play up the heritage of the area. This was a big coal mining area back in the day, and many of the immigrants that originally settled Pittsburg came from the European countries to work in the coal mines.”
    When the buckets are placed, one will be placed at the Miner’s Hall Museum in Franklin to coincide with the Smithsonian display visiting this summer. Broadway will be lined from Second to Eighth streets with 24 buckets, and the placing of the final bucket has yet to be decided.
    Artists selected are Merri Teresa Accad, Dave Cerne, James Collver, The Tank, Kelci Rae Cooper, Elizabeth Cosby, Kristina Crawford, Rod Dutton, Farmers’ Daughters, Edward Hicks, David Hightower, Josh Johnson, Scott Leeper, Gary Lofts, Mendy McCluey, Robert McCool and Lis McCool, Nicole Meyer-Foresman, Stephanie O’Donnell, Grace Peterson, Sherry Pettey, Susan Robinson, Rhona Shand, Lori Smith and Cyndee Harvey, Billy Smith Jr., Jenna Spencer and Lori Stotler.

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