Marsha Shrack, Pratt Community College art instructor, creates usable earthenware pottery as an extension of the joy in her life. Her work is on display at the Vernon Filley Art Museum in Pratt.
Marsha Shrack loves gardening, cooking and the fellowship of eating and socializing with family and friends. An art teacher at Pratt Community College since 1985, she also loves to express the joys of her life in clay. This joy is now on display at the Vernon Filley Art Museum, part of her Earth to Table Pottery exhibit: A Celebration of Growing, Preparing and Serving.
“I’ve taken this opportunity to create functional pieces to be used and enjoyed in daily life,” Shrack said. “I’ve included a variety of growing containers for plants and succulents, vases for flow- ers, bowls, baking dishes, pie plates and casseroles for food preparation and serving platters, mugs and dishes. I’ve used earth- enware and terra cotta clay for growing contain- ers and reduction high fired stoneware for all food related pieces. Stoneware glazes are food safe, oven, microwave and dishwasher safe.”
A native Kansan, Shrack grew up between her family’s urban home in Wichita and her grand- parent’s rural farm in Uniontown. Her preference was strongly the rural farm life. Summers and every possible weekend found her learning to garden, farm and care for animals from her grandparents. Even in her urban family home she was taught to grow, can, freeze, cook, serve and entertain friends from her parents Marvin and June Gates.
“I had teachers who emphasized and valued art throughout my school years,” she said. “But it was my high school art teacher, Charlie Sander- son, who inspired me to consider art as a lifetime career.”
Shrack completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies in Art and Education at Wichita State University. After college she taught art at Cheney High School and K-12 Art at Wichita Christian School and Bethel Life School in Wichita. In 1985 Shrack moved to Pratt to teach Art at Pratt Com- munity College where she is still teaching and finding time to create.
Learning and educating others is a high priority for her and she attends many workshops through the Kansas Artist Crafts- men Association and Wichita Center for the Arts.
Shrack has also taught workshops on alternative firing techniques and other ceramic topics throughout Kansas.
She has exhibited her functional, wood-fired and alternative-fired ceramics statewide including Carnegie Arts Center, Leavenworth, Kansas, Mercer Gallery, Garden City, Kansas, Prairie Art Exhibit, Sterling, Kansas, Stone House Gallery, Fredonia, Kansas, Kansas Artist Craftsmen Association Juried Exhibition, Lawrence Arts Center and Baker Arts Center, Liberal, Kansas.
Marsha is married to Chris Shrack, who works for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. They live on a farm in the sand hills north of Pratt,and have four grown children who are scattered worldwide.
Shrack’s exhibition has been organized as a fundraiser for the Filley Museum. Forty percent of sales are donated to the art museum (which can be tax deductible for those who purchase artwork during this show).
Each sale helps the Filley Museum accomplish their mission to serve the community. Funds raised will go back into programming that includes school and educational tours, art class- es, exhibits, lectures and unique art-based events.