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Kansas Wetlands: A Wildlife Treasuryby Joseph T. Collins
Synopses & Reviews
Travelers in Kansas in search of fine art needn't restrict themselves to the state's many excellent museums. They need look no further than the walls of their own communities to discover a remarkable array of murals—artistic creations that are striking, democratic, and easily accessible. Depicting Civil War history, the fruits of agriculture, Kansas' diverse cultural roots, and much more, these long-neglected works are now the subject of Lora Jost and Dave Loewenstein's fine new book.
Jost and Loewenstein, artists themselves, have crisscrossed Kansas researching and documenting over 600 murals to promote, preserve, and celebrate this vibrant public art. Theirs is the first and only book devoted exclusively to Kansas murals—a striking visual travelogue that offers a new perspective on the state's culture and history.
From unique small-town creations like Dennis Burghart's The Saga of the Santa Fe outside the Offerle Cafe to the world-famous John Steuart Curry painting of John Brown in the state capitol, murals constitute an enormous public art gallery. Some are socially compelling or were once the focus of intense controversy. Many are group projects in which artists have served as coordinators; these murals represent true expressions of their communities. All show the state as it has been seen through the eyes of Kansas artists over the past hundred years.
The authors focus on ninety exemplary murals-including mosaics and friezes-organized by region and featuring full-color photographs, brief descriptions, and notes on the artists. From Sacred Heart Cathedral to the Early Childhood Center on the Potawatomi Prairie Band Reservation, the artworks selected represent some of the most enduring and powerful images to be found throughout the state. The book also provides regional locator maps for travelers and a list of all 600-plus murals with their locations.
A unique resource that attests to the rich diversity of the mural tradition, this book is an open invitation to visit the open-air museum of Kansas murals and appreciate the stories they tell and their place in public life. They may be tucked into urban landscapes or require travel to out-of-the way locales; some may even be stained by years of exposure to the elements; but these expressions of public art are there for the viewing-and now, thanks to this book, there for the finding.
Book News Annotation:
A crisp, clear wildlife presentation, featuring color photos (by seven photographers, taken over a period of seven years) with explanatory captions, following an introductory essay. For a general readership.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Vibrant and enlightening, Kansas Wetlands provides a photographic celebration of an often overlooked and abused—but ecologically esential—corner of our world.
Although they make up less than one percent of the state's total area, Kansas wetlands—marshes, swamps, woodland pools, seasonal ponds, and even roadside ditches—support more wildlife than the other 99 percent combined. From the lowliest pothole to the grand sweeps of Cheyenne Bottoms, these habitats play a major role in the survival of birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and plants-both common and endangered.
The book's full-color photographs capture wetlands life in all of its resplendent diversity. Pictured here are avocets, otters, snappers, snipes, pelicans, opossums, dowitcher, dragonflies, crawfrogs, crayfish, minks, skinks, newts, coots, and much more.
But, as the authors remind us, wetlands are not just primary breeding sights and stopovers for hundreds of species—they also provide important services for the state's human population as well. They supply water, help with flood control, and serve as purifying filters for larger bodies of water. Often near sources of drinkable water, wetlands trap silt, sediments, pesticides, pollutants, and toxins that would otherwise flow into streams, rivers, and lakes.
Gorgeous to look at, Kansas Wetlands is also a timely call to preserve this important part of the state's natural heritage.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 125) and index.
Table of Contents
Foreword by John E. Hayes, Jr. and Jim Minnerath
Kansas Wetlands: A Different Perspective
What Our Readers Are Saying