Albert DeBrabander - Lenexa, Kansas - 1934-2015
Albert "Bert" DeBrabander worked for 35 years pouring concrete as a basement contractor in the Kansas City area. In retirement, he found himself "needing something to do in the winter time." It most certainly was not sculpting in concrete, so he picked up a welding torch and began looking for interesting pieces of old implement scrap metal. He started planting metal figures and assorted items on his rural acreage near Lenexa. While hunting near Russell, Bert decided to purchase the old Boot Hill Cafe's 15-foot fiberglass cowboy boot and the postrock limestone signage. This boot has become the identifying trademark of this metal cowboy-and-Indian themed environment. One day he put a couple of cowboy boots stuffed with artificial flowers on his property fence line and soon neighbors and people driving by began to leave their boots for his artistic endeavor.
Florence Deeble - Lucas, Kansas - 1900-1999
Historic Florence Deeble Rock garden
Florence Deeble was a child watching with curiosity when S.P. Dinsmoor was constructing his Garden of Eden in Lucas. When she retired after a career as a high school English and history teacher, she began constructing her own grassroots environment of colored concrete scenes around her home. First prompted by her mother's insistence that she fill in a garden fish pond to prevent anyone drowning in it, Miss Deeble began to create concrete "postcards" of holiday sites she had enjoyed. Even after she was no longer able to do the cement work herself, she devoted herself to celebrating the early history of Lucas, balancing her earlier model of Mt. Rushmore with a work honoring four Lucas notables. Her rock garden is listed on the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places.
Jim Dickerman - Beverly, Kansas
Folk Art - Metal, Feathers & Bones
For over 25 years Jim Dickerman has been combining scrap metal and parts from cars, trucks, tractors, bikes, and field equipment with skulls, bones, driftwood, antlers, feathers, and just about anything else to create his magical creatures. He sees himself as rather passive in this process, letting the pieces he finds decide what kind of creature they want to be. Since 2000, Jim, who lives in Lincoln County, has been creating his Open Range Zoo along Highway K-18. He asked friends and land owners if it would be okay to exhibit his metal/bone creations in their pastures, on top of billboards and in all sorts of unexpected places, creating a visual surprise around every bend along this two-lane road.
Samuel Perry Dinsmoor - Lucas, Kansas - 1843-1932
Garden of Eden
Starting in 1905 at the age of 62, Samual Perry Dinsmoor began creating his Garden of Eden in Lucas. After building a limestone log cabin and mausoleum with dove-tailed corners, he then spent the next few decades creating his concrete sculptural elements of religious figures and depictions of society at the time. His yard environment is one of the top 10 visionary art environments in the US.
Pull Tab Art
Herman Divers - Topeka, Kansas - 1923-2013
Those who saw the original KCPT "Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations" remember Topeka's Herman Divers and his astonishing pull-tab creations. The full-size motocycle was created out of 179,200 pull-tabs. The pull-tabs are those available on beverage cans in the 1970s. Each can tab had an extension on it that could be wrapped and bent to secure to the next tab. There is no glue or reinforcement iron in these silver artistic wonders of Divers' imagination. The Grassroots Art Center has on display a car, motorcycle, table, chair, lamp, umbrella, and clothing. When he ran out of pull tabs, he worked in buttons, artfully covering and creating objects such as vases, horses, motorcycles, and dolls.
Dolls - Mosiac Sculptures
LeAnne Doljac - Stillwell, Kansas
Schooled and trained as an engineer, LeAnne Doljac decided using her design skills to make art is where her heart is. LeAnne has created art from a junkyard car and pickup roofs and hoods. She is an avid mosaic artist and an intricate sculpture "The Splash" resides outside the front door at the Grassroots Art Center. Doljac creates sculptures out of assembled objects including dolls and antiques. She created "Monkey Bird Park" on her land in Stilwell, which displays mosaic dogs and other animals roaming in a natural area. Her art is developed out of an exploration of childhood and life experiences.
Robert Dorris - Erie, Kansas - 1925-2007
Ever want to roam the land at the time of dinosaurs? Inspired by the dinosaur displays at the Smithsonian Museum, Robert Dorris, a former builder of airplanes, created his "Detroit" dinosaur from car parts and scrap metal. It is 10-feet high and 16-feet long. He also made numerous smaller ones. The collection was donated to the city of Erie where a park is set up for viewing his creations.
Grogan Ebberts - Emporia, Kansas - 1930-2009
Grogan Ebberts, who worked in the oil fields in southern Kansas, uses junk parts and scraps from recent oil drilling ventures to create his sculptures. His front and back yards are full. Ebberts said he didn't even care if he was successful or not, for he couldn't in good conscience do anything else. His 12-foot tall congomeration of discarded drill shafts and pipe are prominent in his work.
Ed Engling - Natoma, Kansas - 1931-2017
Ed Engling's yard is a visual delight, from small pig heads made out of Model T oil pans with feet of cast iron bathtub legs, to an art car that is completely covered with license plates, horns, and other signage, which he drove in many area parades. His environment evolved over many years. He made his "Osborne County Choppers" from a combination of push lawn mowers and bicycles. He was an oil field worker for most of his life. Ever want to ride a motorcycle that is as big in scale as a full size car? It was possible at Engling's yard in Natoma.