Mingle Mania: New event to benefit memory program

By Becky Fitzgerald on February 20, 2018

Capitalizing on an extensive art collection featuring well-known local and Kansas artists, Meadowlark staff have joined with several Manhattan community members to plan an inaugural event, Art Mingle: Manhattan Memories, to benefit the Meadowlark Memory Program. Guests at a Friday evening reception, March 9, are invited to mingle with friends among the colorful galleries in the Community Center. Food for thought, lively libations, treasured tunes and art appreciation are part of the night’s plan.

Meadowlark chef John Gasser and his talented team will tempt three of the five senses with an array of eye-catching appetizers, several of which will be as pleasing to the brain as they are to the palate. Craft beers, wine and a specialty cocktail are on the beverage menu, and two local guitarists are pairing up to deliver jazz and classic pop/rock hits. There’s plenty to see, taste and hear, but Minglers won’t want to miss an Artists’ Showcase, featuring local art legend Oscar Larmer and his former student, Ralph Fontenot. They’ll be greeting fans and making new friends while surrounded by examples of their work.

Prompting the theme of Manhattan Memories, Larmer and Fontenot are arguably Manhattan’s most known artists, and their work has been admired for decades. Their relationship may best be described as mentor/mentee. Larmer’s paintings have become part of the visual fabric and esthetic identity of our community, and Fontenot has recorded in his landscapes and city scapes the changing appearance of Manhattan as it has grown and prospered.

In addition, large paintings by the late Elfreda Johnson Peterson will be on display. These paintings, now hidden gems of Meadowlark’s collection, previously hung at Manhattan’s Scheu’s Café, which operated from the 1930s to the 1970s on the southwest corner of 5th and Poyntz (currently the location of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce). Even if you didn’t eat at Scheu’s, you’ll want to see these big beauties.

 The theme, Manhattan Memories, also reflects the event’s beneficiary. The memory program, now in its third year, provides education and engagement opportunities for persons affected by memory loss. All program services are FREE and are open to anyone in the Flint Hills region.

Friday’s Art Mingle will include silent and live auctions, featuring art-related items and experiences, as well as party favors for all attendees also will be part of the fun. Larmer and Fontenot both have committed to providing pieces for the live auction. Pottery, objects made by Flint Hills Woodturners members, a hand-pieced quilt dated 1930, original work by current and former Meadowlark residents as well as pieces by the late Gene Ernst also will tempt bidders in the silent or live auctions.

 A VIP (very important paintings) Tour begins at 6 p.m., with a general Mingle following at 7 p.m. Mingle tickets are $50 per person. A limited number of VIP tickets are available at  $75 per person and includes select food and beverages, a docent-led tour, reserved parking and a souvenir drinking glass. For more information or to make reservations, call 785-537-4610. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.meadowlark.org.

 The fundraiser has generated generous support from the local business community in the form of sponsorships. Community First National Bank is the presenting sponsor, with the (Jack and Joann) Goldstein Fund, a supporting organization of Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, and Kellstrom Pharmacy also supporting the March 9 event.

 Art Mingle: Manhattan Memories is one of three events during a memorable March weekend. On Saturday, March 10, allow your eyes and feet to wander at Art Mingle: Fine Art Fair. Local and area painters, potters, sculptors, etc., are expected to exhibit and sell their work to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Meadowlark Hills Community Center.

 There is no charge to attend the Fair, but breakfast and lunch are available for purchase at Meadowlark’s restaurant and café. Plan to spend a few hours and cure your cabin fever.

A list of participating artists will be released as names and their media become available. If you’re an artist and would like information about participating, contact Ginny Young at artbyginny@gmail.com.

 A third opportunity for art appreciation is to occur on Sunday, March 11, when Kansas State University theater students present  a staged reading of a play, Numb & Number, written by Deborah Murray, an instructor in the university’s English department. The play reading is planned for 4 p.m. at Manhattan Art Center.

 “Numb and Number is based on my family's experience facing our mother's Alzheimer's diagnosis--not so much about Alzheimer's as about the emotional upheaval a family faces when someone they love gets this diagnosis,” Murray writes.

 The students will be led by Sally Bailey, Director of the Drama Therapy Program and a faculty member of the Gerontology program. Lynsey Becher, a Meadowlark employee, and Emily Trube, both of the Drama Therapy master's program, are lead actresses. Becher works at Verna Belle’s Café.

 Admission is by donation, with proceeds benefiting Meadowlark Memory Program. Murray’s mother lived at Meadowlark Hills from 2008 until her death in 2015. Complimentary transportation for residents is available to the performance. Please register in the Blue Book.
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