Construction work on the M.T. Liggett preservation project near Mullinville, Kansas is moving right along, with an estimated completion of the end of 2020.
“[The] Kohler Foundation as well as others in our field, view M.T. Liggett's art environment as an important piece of art. Liggett was creative, provocative, and passionate about what he did. While some few him as a cantankerous old man, many speak of his intellect, insight and insatiable desire to create. He made people think about the world and he brought people together to enjoy, discuss, and wonder,” said Terri Yoho, Kohler Foundation’s Preservation Director.
There are several phases to this project, which is being completed by the Kohler Foundation, Inc. out of Kohler, Wisconsin. The name Kohler might sound familiar because the company is internationally known for producing plumbing products. One thing that might not be known about the company is their foundation work.
The Kohler Foundation supports education, arts and preservation initiatives, primarily in Wisconsin. Kohler Foundation's scope encompasses five major areas of concentration: scholarships, grants, Distinguished Guest Series, the Waelderhaus and art preservation, according to information on the company’s Facebook account.
The first step in highlighting M.T. Liggett’s artwork is preservation. Another part of this project is a visitor center, which is being built near the original studio where the artwork was created near Mullinville.
This visitor center will include custom tools designed by the late artist, over 500 small hearts and other pieces of art, and a restoration area and workshop.
Once both of these components are finished, the Kohler Foundation, Inc., will gift it to the 5.4.7 Art Center in Greensburg, who will be the steward of the site. There is a board to oversee the project, that includes residents from both Greensburg and Mullinville.
Yoho said the hope for the visitor center is to inspire and motivate people.
So far, the spread of COVID-19 across the country hasn’t had much of an impact on the progression of this project. Yoho said there has been a visit from the Kohler Foundation that has been delayed, and one key art conservator is stuck in Houston but hopes to make it to Mullinville soon. The visitor center is still on schedule and coming together nicely.
“M.T. Liggett's art environment is a treasure that will attract people from near and far. We believe it will have a positive impact on the local economy, as we have seen with other sites. The 5.4.7 Arts Center is excited about taking on the site and their programming will help visitors, young and old, engage in this artistic wonderland. It will be an exciting time as we approach the completion of the preservation of the artwork,” Yoho said.