Larry Richardson - Mulvane, Kansas
Golden Gate Bridge
Larry Richardson has had two great loves in his life, his wife Barbara and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. In 1994, Larry was given some cable from a neighbor who had torn down a wooden bridge 1/4 mile from the Richardson's.
His wife said, "You've got your material so build your bridge." Larry's dad said, “Well, I'll help you." The Kansas Golden Gate Bridge is 150' long, 8' wide, and 25' high, and took 11 years to complete. It crosses a small creek separating the largest part of his farm to a small piece of land. These two men used a Golden Gate postcard — not blueprints — as a reference. Larry calls it "comparison engineering." Materials include lots of recycled items: old wooden bridge towers, cables from an oil rig, suspender cables salvaged from an old Cessna aircraft, and 9.5 tons of hand-mixed concrete.
Anthony "Tony" Sanchez - Kansas City, Missouri
Decades of paintings by Anthony “Tony” Sanchez, 98 years old, of Kansas City, Missouri, was on display at the Grassroots Art Center in 2018. Tony’s paintings include scenes of trains, landscapes, cartoon characters, yard displays, home decor and holiday themes using acrylic and oil paints. As a young child, he was self-taught and began to sketch farm scenes with pencils, not crayons. He was recognized in school and later, his work places for his ability to draw and paint.
“During my working years, I began drawing cutaways, exploded view of parts.” Tony explained. When no catalogs were available for ordering parts, he would sketch what was needed. He was asked to sketch the design of a box for bus fares. “I could see it in my mind and went home, drew sketches and helped to design the boxes for buses.”
The colors in his paintings come through true because he paints in the daytime when it’s best to work with natural daylight.
Tony is a World War II veteran and retired after thirty-three years as a supervisor at TJ Fleming Co., Westinghouse Air Brake, K.C. Mo. He has dedicated his retirement to doing what he loves, painting.
Ed Schmiedeler - DeSoto, Kansas - 1941-2015
A wonderful yard environment full of color, texture, and pattern is tucked into the woods of eastern Kansas. Ed Schmiedeler has been working for years, ornamenting the exterior and interior of his rural home. Anything is apt to be displayed as multiples or as a single unit in his yard environment. Included are machinery parts, railroad rail, jars, rocks, bikes, mannequins, barbed wire, mosaic toilets, chairs, plastic, cloth, shoes, ceramics, wheels, and furnace grates. The landscape plantings of floral and grasses make the sculptures come alive. Ed says, his favorite part of the environment is no single sculpture. "I love to sit in the swing on my deck which makes a great vantage point to view and enjoy the entire yard."
Nick Schmiedeler - Lawrence, Kansas
Nick Schniedeler elevates junk to jubilant sculpture. His canvas is his home and his medium is rusted metal, spare parts and discarded detritus. A favorite family outing for Nick and his two children is an excursion to the junkyard to scrounge for new materials. The yard and home environment is a culmination of incorporating his finds at the junkyard in a very organized, orderly manner throughout the yard and home. The perimeter of his yard is an odd assortment of car tags from the fifty states, to a Chevrolet pick-up tail gate, his dad's fishing lures, bowling balls, old push mower, bed springs, garage door springs, and bushings just to name a few. Somehow Nick has a knack of bringing all these individually interesting parts together to make a terrific artistic statement both on the exterior and interior of his home.
Martha Schrag - Pretty Prairie, Kansas - 1894 -1991
Martha Schrag created cardboard buildings for 10 years. She gave cardboard churches away at Christmas.
Letha Shepherd - Wichita, Kansas - 1921-2002
Letha Sheperd created a yard menagerie at her Wichita Home. "I never throw anything away, I make something out of it." She loved rocks, which were also encorporated into her creations. SHe especially loved her wishing well, made from a wringer washing machine which broke down and became art..
Sandstone/Concrete Buffalo, Yard Art
Ray O Smith - Longford, Kansas - 1920-1999
Ray O. Smith lived on the Circle 3 Ranch near Longford, KS. He built a retaining wall of native Dakota sandstone unearthed from his own land. He visualized castles, sailboats and more in the natural stone formations. In his yard, he cast a giant U.S./Canadian map of colored concrete, and embedded rocks collected from his travels in each state or providence. Ray dreamed a 61-ton concrete and stone buffalo on the highest point of his ranch, so he and his brother built it. Smith raised exotic animals such as lions, bears, camels, and was a buffalo herdsman on his ranch.
Marlynne Snare - Garden City, Missouri
Paintings, Art Quilts
Marlynne Snare lives and creates at her farm that has been in the family for generations at Garden City, MO. She turns mental photographs into paintings and is a folk artist who is compelled to tell a story with her paintbrush. Marlynne has a love of family, home, church, country, history, and traditions. Simply walk into her home to take a trip down memory lane. Marlynne's paintings include 1950s memories of her childhood holidays at Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day and Christmas in downtown Kansas City, MO. Each painting, greeting card, wooden cut-out is extremely detailed, and Snare can tell you a special memory about each little detail that has been included in the painting.
Martin Snyder - Manhattan, Kansas
"I'm just a person who likes to work with my hands." said Martin Snyder. Since he was 8 years old he has been carving in wood. His yard and garage workspace are filled with his creations, all of which reflect his life experiences and interests. Snyder is self-taught, a nature lover, Vietnam vet, motorcycle fanatic, repairer of boilers and engines, an old hippie, and a proficient welder. Martin said, "It makes me feel like a whole person to do it."
Doren Spillman - Hoxie, Kansas - 1926-2015
The descriptive words 'whimsy' and 'nostalgia' not only depict the man, Doren Spillman, but also his wooden carvings. For over 40 years he carved hundreds of sculptures with a Western theme creating cowboys, Indians, and horses ranging from 10" tall to life-size. Doren can just as easily carve life size figures of Uncle Sam, Elvis or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Spillman says, "I'm a tinkerer and I don't care what people think of my projects." About 1990 he created his only motorized sculpture the "mechanical farm." It highlights all the aspects of work on a farm in the early part of the twentieth century. In 2004 he created a "wheeley," a motorized, air-powered bicycle out of mainly recycled parts. This vehicle was featured in Popular Mechanics magazine.
Bob Stanley - Augusta, Kansas
"Everybody ought to have a hobby," says Bob Stanley from Augusta, KS. Mr. Stanley was an aircraft mechanic for Boeing moving to the design team because Boeing wanted, "some good old boys who grew up making do with very little." The majority of his models are historic buildings in Augusta. Using skills he learned as a child to "make do" Bob creates structures using all sorts of materials. He makes shingles out of used veneer from old furniture, makes windowpanes out of strawberry baskets and window glass from 35mm exposed film. His scale is 1/2" to 1'.
Mary Starbuck - Ottawa, Kansas
Mary Starbuck filled her yard with objects and embellishments, creating quite a sight in her town of Ottowa, KS, including a wishing well.