Thursday, July 3, 2014

Arts Thrive on the Prairie

While my blog of 6-18-2014 declared that "Isaac Would Have Been the First One Inside the Door" when the new Vernon Filley Art Museum held its Grand Opening on June 29, 2014, he would have needed to have lined up early to have been the first visitor!  The crowd began to gather well before the 2 p.m. ribbon cutting, and when Mimi Filley arrived, applause filled the air.


Awaiting Mimi were Stan Reimer, who had worked with her for nine years to establish the museum in Pratt, and two members of the Filley Foundation Board, Chris Himmelwright and Lu Sherer, who were waiting with a festive red ribbon.

As the ribbon was cut, the Brass Ensemble announced the moment with their fanfare!  Musicians were Abby Giles, Peter Weinert, Steve and Brittany Novotony, and Blake Lee.  The crowd formed a line to await entry into the museum, eventually adding their names to the guest book, a document that will forever evidence the huge support the community showed their new museum on opening day.

By the end of the day, estimates of the crowd attending the Open House ranged from 500 to 700 visitors.  Not only had they filled the galleries to enjoy their first opportunity to view the Filley Collection, but they were also treated to entertainment by harpist, Julie Rewerts, from the Stafford community, just one of the communities in the surrounding region served by the museum.  A trio of young fans particularly enjoyed the music!

It was overwhelmingly apparent that support for the new museum is strong.  The museum is located at 421 S. Jackson Street in Pratt, KS and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday - Friday and from 1 to 4 on Saturdays.  Regular Docent Tours will be available for the public without prior reservations at 1:30 the first Saturday of each month, and arrangements for planned Docent Tours may be made by calling the museum at 620/933-2787 or e-mailing INFO@VERNONFILLEYARTMUSEUM.ORG.  Classes for children and adults are now available, and rental opportunities of the museum are also available by contacting the museum.  Volunteers to help in many capacities have already been of great benefit to the mission of the museum, and more volunteers are welcomed!

In addition to revenue received from memberships and rental of the facility, financial support from individuals and businesses is important.  On Saturday evening a dinner in the museum lobby was held to honor Mimi and to show appreciation to the generosity of early supporters.  A member of the Filley family said that nothing reflected the community support more clearly for her than the willingness of members of the community to loan their fine China for the table settings.  In the background of the image at right can be seen the harpsicord that was used to entertain during the evening.

  At the close of the evening, Mimi Filley and Stan Reimer shared a private conversation, undoubtedly relishing the occasion marking the fulfillment of Mimi's childhood dream and the years of hard work it had taken to make her dream come true.  You may read more about the museum at

(Remember, to enlarge the images, you may click on them.)

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