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Applications Welcome for Arts Commission

The City of Osawatomie is seeking applicants for a newly established Arts Commission!

At the May 12th, 2022, regular meeting of City Council, the Governing Body approved a resolution outlining the establishment of a public arts commission to help develop and implement public art and arts-and-culture activities and programming within the City of Osawatomie.

City staff will be accepting applications for the seven-member Commission from interested residents until June 6th, 2022, and conducting brief interviews if the number of applicants necessitates additional review. The City’s Public Service Application is available for download below, or paper copies can be made available at City Offices at 439 Main Street. Completed applications should be returned via email to [email protected] or paper applications can be returned to City Offices.

For the purposes of the Commission’s studies and recommendations, public art and arts and culture shall mean:

Public Art: “Public art can express community values, enhance our environment, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world – the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.” (Association for Public Art)

Arts: A vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts.

Culture: A set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that define a group of people, such as the people of a particular region. Culture includes the elements that characterize a particular peoples’ way of life.

The goal of the Commission is to focus primarily on the introduction and implementation of public art projects and arts-and-culture projects within and around the City limits, and to develop public art projects that may also integrate with other public art projects, installations, or objectives in the region including the Kansas City metropolitan area and other urban, suburban, or rural centers.

As indicated by the resolution approved by City Council, the Arts Commission’s policy and procedure papers will be reviewed at the June 23rd, 2022, meeting of City Council with the papers approved and the Commission seated at the following meeting on July 7th, 2022.

Please contact the City’s Public Information Officer with questions or feedback regarding this new commission.

Staff members from the Office of Rural Prosperity visited Osawatomie in April 2022.

ORP Mural Q + A

We hear there are some questions about the new mural going in… Let’s do a quick Q+A!

Q: Where did the money come from for this mural?

A: The City of Osawatomie applied for a grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity and the “Rural Mural” program — a pilot program from ORP designed to bring public art into rural communities. The City received $15,000 for the project and issued a call for applications; the award included all expenses for labor, equipment, supplies, etc.

Q: Did the City Council vote on the mural?

A: No, the City Council did not vote on the mural for the downtown. The City Council was made aware of the City’s application to the program and the subsequent award as part of continuing “Osawatomie 4.0” presentations at regular meetings throughout the year.

Q: Who is the mural committee?

A: The mural committee for this initial Office of Rural Prosperity Rural Mural grant was comprised of Chamber of Commerce Director Kari Bradley, Osawatomie High School art teacher Michaela Irwin, local business owner Jordy Goff of Our Clique Photography, Osawatomie Public Library Director Dr. Morgan Menefee, City Hall’s high school intern, and Assistant to the City Manager Sam Moon. An official Arts Commission will hopefully be established soon to assist with future public art projects.

Q: How many submissions did the committee receive?

A: The committee received 18 formal submissions of portfolios and approximately another 3-5 email or social media inquiries that didn’t complete the portfolio requirement. In total, there were over 200 pages of portfolio work submitted for review from a wide variety of artists including local and international talents.

Q: How did the committee pick this design?

A: The committee reviewed all submissions and selected four artists or teams believed to have had the best proven body of work to move into a finalist round. During the finalist round, the artists were asked to submit design ideas or framework (such as a rough pencil sketch, a few paragraphs about their design methodology or process, a digital rendering, a mood board, or any combination thereof etc.) so that the committee could better understand what their unique voice and vision could bring to the community. The committee then met again to review the finalist submissions and the green and yellow draft design by Hunter Sinclair Myers of Wichita’s Brickmob stood out from the pack. The unique graphic, pop-art style felt fresh, contemporary, and vibrant — the perfect complement to a reawakening downtown corridor!

Check out Brickmob’s portfolio here! They have a team of artists and designers who tag-team on murals of all sizes and styles, and a proven track record of great projects and professional experience.

Q: Why didn’t the award go to the school district for a student-led mural?

A: This mural is large-scale (nearly 40 feet high and 40 feet long) and needed a professional muralist with a proven body of work in exterior murals to lead the team, including examining the condition of the wall and recommending prep work (like tuckpointing or sealcoating) and coordinating equipment needs such as scissor lifts, commercial projectors, and access to the correct type of outdoor mural paint to ensure a long-lasting and vibrant final product. The OHS art teacher was a member of the selection committee and agreed that she and her students weren’t adequately equipped for such a task, especially in the middle of an already busy school year.

Student- and/or community-led murals are on deck for the next set of projects now that we better understand all that goes into starting and finishing a quality mural and have more time to prepare!

Q: Are you doing more murals?

A: Yes! The City of Osawatomie applied for and received a grant from the local Hawkins Foundation to install other smaller murals in the community. We’re looking forward to working with residents, students, and other members of the community on our future mural projects.

Q: How can I help with future projects?

A: Applications for the upcoming Arts Commission will be accepted from anyone in the community with a penchant for art, a desire to help create reimagined and interactive displays, or anyone who has a passion for our community culture. Keep an eye out for the application to open in coming weeks! We’d love the assistance of creative, engaged, and dedicated people for our next projects!

For more questions regarding this and upcoming public art projects, please contact the City of Osawatomie’s Public Information Officer.

Bestselling Author Coming to Osawatomie for Signing


Best-selling author to autograph books at two KC Metro area locations

Author Roxie Yonkey will be autographing her best-selling book 100 Things to Do in Kansas Before You Die from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on March 18 at No. 81, Mahaffie Stage Stop and Farm in Olathe. The book signing will be free to attend. The book features numerous other Northeast Kansas attractions, and Northeast Kansas Tourism professionals will be at Mahaffie as well. Learn more about all Northeast Kansas has to offer and register for a gift basket. Buy a book at the stage stop or ahead of time at

On March 19, Yonkey will autograph books at the Osawatomie Public Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I am so excited to be working side by side with my friends in the Kansas tourism industry at Mahaffie,” Yonkey said. “Their help has made writing and promoting my book and the destinations within it much easier. I appreciate every one of them.”

When Yonkey made her 100 Things list, Mahaffie and Osawatomie were easy choices. “The Santa Fe Trail was integral to the state’s development, and we are still the Breadbasket of the Nation,” Yonkey stated. “At Mahaffie, guests can learn what early Kansas agriculture and transportation was like, and hopefully better appreciate our founding fathers and mothers,” she said.

“Furthermore, writing about Kansas without including John Brown is impossible,” she said. “Brown was adamant in defense of freedom, and delivered his own brand of justice during the Bleeding Kansas period. I am looking forward to walking in Brown’s footsteps in Osawatomie.”

In December 2021, Yonkey’s publisher asked her to write the book “Secret Kansas: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure .” It will come out in the spring of 2023. Yonkey will visit the Johnson County Museum while she’s in Olathe, and hopes to research at least one more Johnson County location.

Yonkey has been writing about Kansas for over 30 years. One Hundred Things to Do in Kansas Before You Die is her second book. In 2020, she co-authored the book Midwest Road Trip Adventures. That book includes road trip guides for all
12 Midwest states. Yonkey wrote the Kansas chapter and the Black Hills section of the South Dakota chapter. Yonkey and the other road trip book’s authors are preparing for a second edition.

Yonkey has scheduled more signings throughout the state. Check the schedule at

We hope to see you at Mahaffie Stage Stop and Farm on March 18 and at the Osawatomie Public Library on the 19th.

Roxie Yonkey
Author, Travel Writer, Public Speaker
1203 Caldwell Ave., Goodland, KS 67735
785-821-2086 • [email protected]

Osawatomie Public Library Awarded $10,000 Humanities Grant

For Immediate Release


$10,000 Grant Will Help the Library Recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Osawatomie, Kansas — Osawatomie Public Library has been selected for the American Library
Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief
program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan
Act of 2021, Osawatomie Public Library will use awarded funds to anchor itself in the community as a
strong humanities institution. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library
deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature, and other humanities

More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA, and 200 were awarded.

The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include
public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The
recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size from 642 residents
in Weir, Kansas, to the City of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically
underserved and/or rural communities.

“I am so proud of our library for being part of this incredible opportunity,” said Library Director Dr. Morgan
Crabtree. “This grant will truly help us to come out of the pandemic with a new energy and focus on
enriching our community through the humanities.”

Osawatomie Public Library will use the grant funds to preserve and restore library and community history,
including the original 1912 Carnegie Library blueprints and 1901 Miami County Atlas filled with local
history notes, photographs, and newspaper clippings, as well as to bolster their presence at the
community’s annual Freedom Festival, which is a celebration of their heritage as an abolitionist settlement
during the era of Bleeding Kansas in pre-Civil War America. To learn more about Osawatomie Public
Library’s plans for the grant, please visit

“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic —from budget cuts to staff furloughs
to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty
Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who
run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”

“Osawatomie Public is a small but might public library maintaining a variety of community resources. We strive to be an anchor for the arts, life-long learning, and culture in our community. In short, we are a place to belong.”


Seeking Tourism Committee Applicants

The City of Osawatomie is seeking applicants for the newly reformed Tourism Committee! Applications will be accepted through February 9th, 2022 and eligible applicants will be considered for appointment at the February 10th, 2022 regular City Council meeting.

APPLY NOW (Download Fillable PDF – Return to [email protected])

In accordance with the Governing Body’s policies on the appointments to advisory bodies, the Governing Body shall appoint seven members to the Committee. The Tourism Committee shall consist of at least one representative from each of the Signature Events. Each member shall be a resident, property owner, business owner/operator in the 66064 zip code. Three other voting members shall be appointed from the community-at-large. The Committee’s membership shall also include three ex-officio (non-voting) members: one Council member, who shall be appointed as a liaison, the City Manager, or his or her designee, and the Executive Director of the Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce.

Each Committee member shall be appointed to a term of two years; provided, that of those first appointed to the Committee, four shall have a term expiring at the end of 2023 and three shall have a term expiring at the end of 2024. Following initial appointment, members shall serve a term of two years beginning on January 1 of the appointed year. In the case of a vacancy on the Committee, it shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term only and according to the resolution on advisory board appointments (Resolution 664).

Committee members shall serve until resignation or replacement on the Committee.

The Committee shall meet at least four times per year, or more often as deemed necessary by the Committee Chairman or at least three of the Committee members. The Committee will meet with the Signature Event sponsoring committees at least twice a year (one meeting previous to the event and at one meeting post event). The Committee shall also meet when called upon by the City Council or City Manager to consider a special issue.

Within the guidelines of the Governing Body’s resolution for advisory bodies, the Committee shall choose its own officers, determine the time and place for its meetings. And follow the model meeting code known as the “Code of Procedure for Kansas Cities,” Third Edition (2017). The Committee shall also provide the City Clerk with adequate notice of the date and time of its next meeting and agenda and with copies of the minutes of its proceedings. A majority of its duly appointed committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of its business.

The role of the Tourism Committee shall include (1) provide support to Signature Event Committees (2) make recommendations to the Governing Body on tourism and marketing policies; (3) assist in developing a strategic tourism and marketing plan for the City; (4) review and make recommendations on the expenditure of transient guest tax revenues collected by the City; (5) provide input and review of the City Manager’s submitted budget related to signature events which shall occur annually before July 1st.

Click Here to review the newly adopted Resolution regarding the Tourism Committee.

APPLY NOW (Download Fillable PDF – Return to [email protected])

City Seeking Muralist

City Seeking Muralist

The City of Osawatomie is seeking a qualified artist to design and implement a large-scale mural in downtown Osawatomie as part of the Kansas Office of Rural Prosperity’s rural mural program. The City was awarded a grant totaling $15,000 to be used for the project.

Please contact us directly with any questions or comments you may have regarding the grant or the mural process.

Interested artists should send a brief portfolio and letter of interest to [email protected] with the subject line “Mural.” The City will be accepting applications until Sunday, October 3rd, 2021. Once all applicants have been reviewed, a committee will narrow down to the finalist(s), and the design process will begin.

Updated Information for Interested Applicants:

  • Previous mural experience is required for the lead artist, but we are open to team applications or other partnership combinations
  • With the grant award of $15,000, the City of Osawatomie will provide all reasonable supplies and tools necessary for the completion of the project including paint, brushes/rollers, scaffolding or lifts, etc. as well as the muralist fee
  • General design and theme is up to the artist chosen, but the City and its committee must approve final design before implementation
  • Design and theme should be complementary to the overall aesthetic of downtown Osawatomie and our regional history, landscape, and architecture
  • Design should be visually appealing and welcoming to residents and visitors alike
  • As stipulated by the grant, the mural should be completed in Fall 2021 or the project may be delayed until Spring 2022 at which time the City will submit a new “Call for Artist” notice if necessary