M.T. Liggett Center to open soon; workshops coming to 5.4.7 Arts in Greensburg

Edward J. Naughton
Kiowa County Signal
The 5.4.7. Arts Center in Greensburg is the hub of many coming art events in Kiowa County.
Ann Dixon is the gallery manager at the 5.4.7. Arts Center in Greensburg.

The art scene in Kiowa County is on the verge of a literal explosion as several projects come to fruition and planners release details about coming events.

Ann Dixson, a retired magistrate judge, is the  gallery manager at the 5.4.7. Arts Center in Greensburg. She is working at a very steady rate these days because so much in the world of art is happening in Kiowa County.

One of workshops which Dixson is so proud to host at the 5.4.7. Arts Center is an all day affair. The teacher will be Janie Tubbs from Lindsborg, Kansas. Participants will assemble a 12 inch x 18 inch handwoven basket which is open at the top and is the kind some folks might use for gathering fruit or special displays.

The 5.4.7. Arts Center is located at 204 W. Wisconsin in Greensburg. The phone number is 620-723-2600.

Participants are asked to pay a very reasonable fee of $50 for this all-day session on September 18th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. which covers materials needed to complete a basket and lunch also. 

"Art has told the history of rural America for many years. Art in Kiowa County helps to expand our thinking a little bit, contemplating new things, while preserving our past," Dixson said.

People can come and visit 5.4.7. Arts Center and work on an open studio basis on their own particular special art projects on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., when an otherwise scheduled special workshop is not already in session.

There is a Wednesday to Saturday online class for pastels work sponsored by 5.4.7. Arts Center.

There is also a special 3 day workshop coming in September, but details are somewhat limited right now. Greg Barnes artist from North Carolina will lead the workshop from 17th-19th of September.

Especially because of the recent completion of the M.T. Liggett Art Environment and Visitor Center at 210 N. Elm in Mullinville, Dixson has been working a few more hours a week than usual lately, taking the lead in administrative matters related to the Visitor Center which opens this fall, and picking up the phone often or answering emails, as people call from near and far, all wanting to know more about the center's grand opening, the time and place, with attendant festivities which are being planned.  

The Visitors Center was originally scheduled to be opened in July 2021, but the official date of the visitor center opening is now scheduled for October 2, 2021. 

There is a nature path near the visitor center.

Dixson said, "This is an exciting time to see the project we have worked on this long come to fruition."

The Kohler Foundation of Wisconsin has played a significant role in this visitor center project in light of M.T. Liggett's legacy of art which items numbers in the hundreds still on his old 70 acres of property. 

The M.T. Liggett Trust contacted Kohler Foundation for preservation of the artistic works.

One of the members of  the M.T. Liggett trust board, retired KAKE-TV photojournalist Larry Hatteberg, said he became a trustee of Liggett's estate when Liggett died. Hatteberg was a personal friend of Liggett for years.

Hatteberg said, "Liggett disliked a lot of people, but several people he knew he held in high esteem. Still his life was a mystery."

Further specific details about what kind of celebratory festivities might be included with the center's opening are not known as of this date, but things are definitely in the planning stages. 

The 5.4.7. Arts Center has practically speaking assumed stewardship of the newly built Visitor Center already. 

The building is split in two basically. On one side an interpretative exhibit side of the work of M.T. Liggett, who passed away in 2017. The other half of the center is a workshop of sorts which is set-up for a local artist in-residence.

Liggett was the gruff self-taught man who did not belong to any political party, but he definitely had jaded opinions about certain people in politics whether they were Republican or Democrats, with much bend to his philosophic twist relating to his life in Kansas, his neighbors in Mullinville, and life in general. 

M.T. Liggett was a man who spent about 23 years of his life in the military, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force combined active service. Liggett started relatively later than you might expect, with his artistic career just beginning in the late 1980s.  

Liggett was a famous folk artist provocateur, a man from Mullinville, who made things like roadside sculptures, signs and whirligigs, strange looking totems with even stranger names among many other things large and small, of which several you can still see today standing beside the road as you travel west passing through Mullinville.