Sutton’s Artistic Creations on Exhibit at the Art Center


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A retrospective of the artwork created by Martha Sutton will be exhibited at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art, Marysville, throughout the month of February. The exhibit, “There is Always Room for One More,” opens Saturday February 6, and runs through Sunday, February 28.

The art center is open Thursdays from 4-6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.; and Sundays from 1-4 p.m.

“She always said there was room for one more at the table to eat, but at the same time there was always one more project she wanted to get done,” explained Angela Sutton, Martha’s granddaughter. “Even while she was in the hospital toward the end of her life, she was so perturbed because she had three mini-trees she wanted to work on next.”

Martha passed away July 16, 2020 at the age of 91. She was born February 2, 1929, at the farm home in rural Barnes, Kan. to Joseph and Phoebe Ricard. She married Floyd Sutton on April 21, 1948; they had three children, Melvin, Leonard, and Jane.

The Suttons made their home in Blue Rapids, Kan. Martha was a member of the Blue Rapids United Methodist Church, the Blue Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and the Blue Rapids Friends of the Library board.

Martha was passionate about art and creativity.

“She always encouraged us to pursue our artistic interests whether it be sewing, painting, writing, or cooking up new recipes” Angela said. “During her life, she never wanted a big showing of her work. She would show some things to people who visited her and gave many pieces away to family and close friends, but for whatever reason, she never wanted it on display. Though she may be shaking a fist at us from above, I am very excited we get to honor her work and celebrate her life.”

The pieces on display are eclectic and span the last thirty years of Martha’s work.

Her artistic roots began with decorating cakes and coming up with original recipes to enter in the county fair or the Pony Express Cookbook published by the Marysville Advocate. She then dabbled in ceramics, made angels and small crafts, and designed the Blue Rapids centennial plates, coins, and seal.

It wasn’t until she began painting that her interest really took off.

“Though Grannie preferred pencil drawing, most of her works were in watercolor and oil,” Angela said. “As painting became more difficult, she transitioned back into crafts. Greeting cards, crosses, mini-ornate trees, embellished coloring book pages, foam-flower arrangements, door hangings, and even writing a book were added to her portfolio. There was always one more project to begin or another medium to attempt.”

All of her work was spread out among family and friends over the years. A few family members came together with their personal collections to compile the exhibit.

“It really is amazing just how many projects Grannie accomplished over the years,” Angela said. “We have long enjoyed her talents and we hope others will, too.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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