Rural Missouri - April 2011 - (Page 29)

Prairie Passage Pit Stop A young boy from Iowa tries to take in the many pieces of northwest Missouri history depicted in the mosaic. Below: The artist’s rendition of the 19th century Watkins Woolen Mill. Eagleville Welcome Center offers artfully crafted view of northwest Missouri A there’s this huge piece of quala puzzle,” says Sandra, adding ity art on our wall. In a sense, the pieces averaged 18-byit makes us a destination 18 inches in size. “Then we because people come back and boxed them up and shipped rt is often found in unexpected places, but bring friends with them to them to Missouri.” most travelers still don’t expect to find a view the mosaic,” says Mike. Once at the welcome cenfabulous work of art as they make a pit “Of course, it doesn’t hurt ter, which is served by Grundy stop at a welcome center. But sitting along that we have clean restrooms Electric Cooperative, the duo Interstate 35 near the northwest town of Eagleville, either.” worked 12 long, arduous population 323, visitors can get more • Mike goes on to share that days in September 2009 than tourist information, clean restEagleville Interstate 35 is a major route to install the mosaic. rooms and snacks — they can view for those entering Missouri Work, of course, was northwest Missouri history in a beautifrom points north. Whether done while visitors ful way. visitors are heading to Kancame and went. While many visitor centers are decosas City, Branson or heading Sandra says many rated with framed art, historic prints or south for the winter, Mike says people asked tourism posters, state officials wanted they’re most likely going to questions. But something more unique for the Eagleville pass by the welcome center. there was one Welcome Center — they wanted a 12-footDelores Frederick of Clear comment she’ll by-44-foot mural gracing one entire wall. Lake, Iowa, a recent first-time always remember. In 2008, MoDOT held a national competition visitor, stopped strictly to see “A lady came in after we to find an artist to create a mural for the welcome the glass art handiwork. Her brother had put all the sections up, but before center’s foyer. Nearly 100 applications and several had seen it and told Delores that she we’d grouted everything, and asked month’s of consideration later, a review committee had to stop and see the wonderful her, ‘Has there been an earthquake?’” narrowed the choices down to three artists. wall. says Sandra, recalling the woman’s “Early on, we decided we’d go for the most artful See more photos of “The “It’s an awe-inspiring thing,” says reaction to the “broken” glass. entry,” says Mike Murray, the center’s Missouri DiviPrairie Passage” in the the 71-year-old traveler. “It made a The artist, who had never been to Mission of Tourism supervisor, who notes federal grant online edition at wonderful first impression on me as I souri before the project began, was money paid for the entire project. “If it happened entered Missouri. It’s like she created a astounded at how much history, as that an artist from Missouri won out, we figured that painting with colored glass. It’s quite mesmerizing.” well as natural beauty, the state offers. would be a bonus.” Delores, whose Iowa home is nearly 200 miles “After touring the northwestern part of the state, The finalists were brought to the state to learn north of Eagleville, says she plans to stop by the it was difficult to know what to include,” she says. about northwest Missouri history and create their welcome center again on her next visit to Missouri. “It didn’t take long to realize that Jesse James was final proposals for the mural. While a Missouri artist Mike says more than 68,000 visitors stopped at a big draw, as well as the Missouri River and Dunn was in the final cut, ultimately it was Sandra Bryant the welcome center last year. While he knows they Ranch with its native grasses, wildflowers and prairie from Lynden, Wash., whose submission intrigued offer a clean stop as well as a well-stocked tourism chickens, which I found particularly beautiful.” the search committee most. information center, he knows many come just to see As visitors view the masterfully created mosaic, “The fact that Sandra’s plan was for an entirely the unique art that graces the foyer. large figures might stand out more at first — such as glass mosaic made it completely distinct,” says Mike. When asked who might come to mind as the No. the likeness of President Harry S. Truman or artist The mural, known as “The Prairie Passage,” is a 1 fan of the mosaic, Mike laughs. Thomas Hart Benton. On closer inspection, visitors montage of people, places and things in northwest “It has to be me,” he says, smiling. “It’s lovely. I see a spotted trout being reeled in by a fisherman Missouri. It took the artist a month to design. It love to focus the tourism light on northwest Mis— or a monarch flitting among wildflowers near an took three more months to cut and piece together souri, and the mosaic does that. This is a cool part of image of Watkins Woolen Mill. The more you look, the mosaic out of more than 600,000 hand-cut piecthe state and this artwork touts that.” the more you see. es of colored glass. While that was a daunting task, Visitors began asking so many questions about it was probably the next step that overwhelmed SanFor more information, call 660-867-5566 or e-mail the mural that the Missouri Division of Tourism and dra and her husband, Carl, who assisted her on the The center is located 2 MoDOT co-authored a booklet to explain the hisproject. miles south of the Missouri-Iowa border on Interstate 35 tory depicted in the mosaic. “Our studio isn’t large enough to put the entire at southbound mile marker 112. “I think the people who come here are amazed mural together, so we designed it in big pieces, like by Heather Berry APRIL 2011 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2011

Rural Missouri - April 2011
Memories of that Mountain Music
Growing pains
Mail Bag
International instruction
Best of Rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Prairie passage pit stop
Around Missouri
Valley of Many Deer Gallery

Rural Missouri - April 2011