Community Mosaic Project Commissioned for 100th Kansas State Fair
Full article published at the Hutchinson News
A five-panel mosaic, which was the backdrop for Governor Sam Brownback as he signed an official proclamation celebrating the 100th Kansas State Fair, was a joint venture of Brenda Leslie and Tina Murano. Both are members of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.
Leslie, who lives and has BEL Mosaics in the Fair’s hometown of Hutchinson, had the initial idea for the centennial mosaic. She teamed with Murano Studios, Halstead, for the project which gave fairgoers the opportunity to make history by participating in the community mosaic. They recall discussing the project, and their expectations for it, on their way to and from the Lexington SAMA conference.
During the 2012 State Fair, attendees were invited to help piece together the glass tile mosaics which paid tribute to the Fair’s tradition of blue-ribbon livestock competitions, crop exhibits, needlecraft displays, musical entertainment, and the midway. The panels were designed to also incorporate old Fair photographs etched into metal plaques.
Murano and Leslie worked with Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein in collecting historical photos, creating designs, and garnering community support. Bradbury Co., a Kansas farm equipment manufacturer, agreed to be the project sponsor. The finished panels were installed in late summer, 2013, in time for the September opening day of the 100th State Fair.
The mosaic — on permanent display in the breezeway of the Oz Gallery, a popular fairgrounds building housing the Fair’s professional art and photography competitions — was unveiled just prior to Gov. Brownback’s signing ceremony. In addition to the governor, Fair Board president, and a Bradbury representative, Murano was invited to speak at the dedication.
Leslie and Murano were delighted with the community connections formed in the mosaic fabrication process and the recognition received for the permanent work of public art.