The rainy weather didn’t hamper visitors from attending the annual Art in the Park event at George Washington Carver National Monument, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Activities were moved inside the visitor’s center because of the damp weather.
“I am making a clay block,” said Nicholas Kinsch, 11, of Baxter Springs, Kan.
Kinsch was at the station provided by Midwest Clay Artists, which was a regional group based out of the tri-state area of different artists that work with clay.
This was not Kinsch’s first time to the monument. He said he has been there at least three to five times before.
“Saturday, we were visiting my grandparents, for a family get together and we decided to come here since it was raining,” he said. “Because there are good activities and when it is not raining, I like to go on hikes and see the cabins and stuff.”
Denise Lambert, with the clay artists group, stood by Kinsch as he was did the clay tile work.
“We like to do community service and outreach and encourage budding artist to become involved with clay,” she said. “Today, we have brought clay, cut them into squares for tiles, and allowing anyone who wants to – not just children, to decorate them.”
She said there were various items that the visitors could use to decorate the tiles.
“We really like to encourage the interaction of the children with their nature so we have laid out a lot of sticks, bark, acorns, rocks, leaves and grass, so it is really fun,” Lambert said. “Each child who comes by picks from the selections of nature to decorate their clay and make impressions on it.”
Lambert said they are affiliated with Phoenix Fired Art on Main Street in Joplin.
“And they will provide the firing, these have to be fired in a special kiln,” she said. “We are encouraging that the families to come by and pick them up later.”
Art in the Park is a fairly new event at the monument, according to GWC Park Ranger Curtis Gregory.
“It is an event to celebrate George Washington Carver’s love of art,” Gregory said in an earlier interview with the Neosho Daily News. “Many people don’t realize that was really his first love, where he actually learned to paint when he was a kid, when he was living at the Carver farm. At one point, he wanted to study art in college and then he turned to agriculture, but he never gave up his love of art and painted for the rest of his life. So the event is dedicated to Carver’s love of art. And just to celebrate art and for artists to come out to the park and to create.”
George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver: scientist, educator, and humanitarian. The monument is located two miles west of Diamond, on Route V, then a half mile south on Carver Road. For more information, please call the park at 325-4151.