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Springdale Art Center debuts print exhibit at Carriage Factory

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Beth Vannatta's "Monarchs and Zinnias" will be on display at the Carriage Factory Gallery  in support of the newly formed Springdale Art and Nature Center near Halstead.

Beth Vannatta has been an artist all of her life, but she waited until her 80s to try her hand at printmaking. 

"I have never done printmaking. It was so scary to me," Vannatta said. "... I am a sculptor. I am very three-dimensional. I am not a two-dimensional artist. For me to do this, I sweat blood over it and I was extremely nervous trying to do a two-dimensional project. It was way out of my comfort zone."

But the soon-to-be 83-year-old gave it a shot, encouraged by a number of friends. 

Her piece, Monarch and Zinnas, is part of an exhibition at the Carriage Factory Gallery, 128 E. 6th St., currently on display. The exhibit features the work of 15 different artists — all in support of the newly formed Springdale Art and Nature Center near Halstead, founded on Vannatta's farm. 

The exhibition will move from the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton to Hutchinson in February before heading to Sterling College and Bethel College before returning to the Carriage Factory in the fall. 

"We are hoping at that time (in the fall) to be past the virus so we can have all the printmakers and anyone who would like to meet and greet them come out to Springdale and celebrate with a get together and a thank you."

Printmaking is an artistic process based on the principle of transferring images from one surface to another, most often paper or fabric. Traditional printmaking techniques include woodcut, etching, engraving and lithography, while modern artists have expanded available techniques to include screenprinting.

The 15 artists participating in the exhibition were inspired by Kathy Schroeder, a member of the board of Springdale.

“Springdale Rising-Roots & Wings” by Kathy Schroeder  is part of the Springdale Arts and Nature Center exhibit at the Carriage Factory Gallery.

"She said, we could do this," Vannatta said. " ... There are not a lot of things you can do in a pandemic. She said in the 'Dirty '30s' there were a group printmakers who got together. They were called the Prairie Printmakers. They produced prints. ... She has taught printmaking. She got together 15 people to do this."

Springdale Art and Nature Center is Vannatta's vision for  48 stunning acres to educate and teach people about stone carving, metal sculpture, ceramics and jewelry making. She also plans nature trails and education. 

Vannatta's current studio is a converted chicken barn and coal shed. 

The exhibition currently at the Carriage Factory features 15 prints — with copies for sale. 

"I think mine turned out all right, but there are others that I like better," Vannatta said. 

All of the prints can also be seen at the Springdale Art and Nature Center website, located at artopens.org.

The Carriage Factory Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

“Cottonwood Creek” by Kristin Ediger Goering is part of the Springdale Arts and Nature Center exhibit at the Carriage Factory Gallery.