KGOU

Artland

Filmmaker Bill Hedges (left), conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta and community advisor Marilyn Tenney stand on a transformed storefront.
Kat Shiffler / Center for Rural Affairs

 

On a Monday night, Main Street in Lyons, Nebraska, is closed — for a movie, according to signs on the barricades. A crowd has gathered on the brick pavement. Suddenly, what appears to be an empty storefront begins to move. People watch with anticipation as the facade leans forward, lowering toward the street.

After the façade comes down, a stand of bleacher seats slides forward from the empty building, creating outdoor seating for 80 people. Lyons’ Storefront Theater has become a reality. The crowd claps and cheers.

The Volland Store is no longer a store, but an art gallery in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
C.J. Janovy / KCUR

Inside the gallery, it’s a scene familiar to anyone who attends art openings: People are enjoying the oil paintings and large-scale photographs bathed in natural light, snacking on cheese and crackers while lively conversation bounces off the brick walls and polished wood floors.

Outside, though, is the wide-open silence of the Kansas Flint Hills.

The Price Tower in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Just 20 miles south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border lies a structure that can’t be missed. The tower draws crowds from around the world and has given a little city a big name.

Bartlesville’s Price Tower is an anomaly. In an oil and gas town filled with short red­, orange­-and-brown ­brick buildings, its 19 ­stories stand tall with green patina copper and cantilevered floors.