Campus News · Community News · Feature

Art “creates” positive impact on small town Kansas

Hallie Mayes  

Managing Editor

Economic opportunity has begun to spotlight the importance of art in small towns across America. Downtown El Dorado offers various opportunities to get involved, attend or create for gallery art shows. 

El Dorado has much to offer for fans of artwork as well as for those who wish to create. Main Street offers museums, classes, as well as murals and sculptures beautifying the town additionally keeping the town’s history alive.  

In an article posted by economic researcher Ann Markusen, evidence provided by the University of Minnesota supports the idea of art-based economic development can drive growth and development, especially in small towns and rural areas. El Dorado has integrated art in various forms.  

Another town favorite is the Coutts Musuem of Art. Located on 110 N Main, the museum will celebrate 50 years this year. Opening its doors to the public, the museum offers free entry for visitors between the hours 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Tuesday – Thursday. The Coutts Museum of Art showcases student art in Butler County high schools. Butler Community College art program is also represented; displays are rotated every two months. Artwork currently on display is shown below. 

The Butler Community College art department has not hesitated to continue to expand the arts to the community. In the fall of 2020, the Butler art department started offering a community ceramics and clay classes one night a week for four contact hours (two credit hours). The class was designed inclusively and specifically for non- art majors who are interested in ceramics. These creations are put on display at the annual student art exhibit at the Coutts Museum of Art. They are also included at the annual student exhibit at the E. B. White Gallery is located on the El Dorado in the 700 Building.  

Valerie Haring , lead instructor of the art program at Butler, explains how she feels visitors from the community encounter artwork they would not hang on their wall but are able to enjoy what she refers to as an “out-of-the-box” viewing experience.  

Following is a diagram of locations of the beatification of art throughout the town of El Dorado’s historic district on Main Street.   

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