Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2008

Artist preserves history with drawings

October 16, 2008

An image of brothers Ruben and Ephraim Basehor, which was once a grainy photo, is now preserved as a large pencil drawing on the wall of the Basehor Historical Museum.

Artist Anita Shikles, a Kansas City, Kan., resident who also created several other sketches depicting the history of Basehor on postcards for the museum, said her interest in the area is all about her combined love of art and history.

“I love history,” she said. “I feel like we need to preserve pictures of historic places.”

While her main business as an artist is creating etched memorial headstones, family farms have always been a running theme on the headstones and in her paintings and drawings. She’s spent more than 30 years preserving landscapes, old photos and family history in paintings.

“When I lived in Branson (Mo.), I just saw such a need because the old farms were disappearing so fast,” she said. “Children don’t know the old-fashioned way of doing stuff. I think it’s important that they know how people lived, the hardships they went through and how they overcame them and see what things were like 100 years ago. It’s painful when things disappear and there’s no record of it.”

About 40 pieces of her work are now on special display through Oct. 30, at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs. While many of the pieces reflect her own personal family history — portraits of her cattle-raising grandfather and his farm — a few of the pieces might spark the interest of Basehor residents. Along with a few of the postcards from the Basehor Historical Museum, Shikles has also displayed a painting of downtown Basehor circa 1915 and the Mussett Farm, where many Basehor residents used to get their milk.

Shikles said she likes to be able to attach a small paragraph to each of her pieces telling viewers the history of the place she’s preserved and that’s what she found in Basehor.

“I needed some more paintings for this exhibit and I was looking for some rural areas and some history that I could attach to the paintings,” she said. “It’s amazing in that one little, small town how much history it has and there are so many people that seem to really love that town.”

For more information about Shikles, visit and for more information about the Ag Hall, call (913) 721-1075.


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