Bart with a student by the Shafer Gallery

Shafer Art Gallery

To see past and current shows go to Shafer Gallery Portfolio of Exhibits!

Painting: Farming Couple by Dean Cornwell
Farming Couple by Dean Cornwell

Agrarian Spirit in the Homestead Era

Artwork from the

Moseman Collection of Agrarian Art

February 2nd - March 9th

Reception February 2nd @6:30pm

January 23, 2024
Story by Joe Vinduska

The Shafer Gallery will host an opening reception for its “Agrarian Spirit in the Homestead Era: Artwork from the Moseman Collection of Agrarian Art” exhibit from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Gallery and will feature light refreshments and a talk by Shafer Gallery Director Alyssa Bliven.

Shafer Gallery Director Alyssa Bliven said the exhibit features paintings, prints, and sculptures by European and American artists that serve as a visual timeline of agrarian culture from the 1850s to the 1940s.

“One afternoon, when I was still in my role as gallery associate, Mark and Carol Moseman visited the gallery, and our conversation unfolded effortlessly as we talked about shared experiences of growing up in the Midwest within agriculturally-minded families,” she said. “During our discussion, they introduced me to a fascinating book, ‘Agrarian Spirit in the Homestead Era,’ which covered their art collection that is featured in this show.”

 According to the Great Plains Art Museum, the artwork of French artists like Jean-François Millet demonstrated the virtues of hard work and labor and reflected an optimistic outlook on agrarian life. American artists were then inspired by these works to create their own images reflecting democratic ideals and dreams of prosperity during the era of homesteading on the Great Plains. The hope and optimism of the homestead era began to change as the decades passed. The twentieth century saw fewer Americans farming and living in rural areas, while environmental disasters like the Dust Bowl drove even more people off the land. This twilight of the agrarian age is evident in later works in this exhibition that reflect either the hardships and struggles of rural life or a nostalgic look at a lifestyle that was quickly fading into the past.

“Upon assuming the role of Gallery Director, I was thrilled to find the Mosemans standing by my side in the endeavor to bring this remarkable collection to the Shafer,” she said. “I believe this collection resonates with our community. Since then, many great things have come from this chance afternoon meeting. Mark, for instance, contributed a piece to our community show. The Mosemans facilitated the temporary loan of Agrarian Spirit from the Great Plains Art Museum, enriching our Gallery's offerings. They've remained dedicated visitors, engaging in delightful conversations, and even generously donated Mark's work from the community show to our permanent collection. This friendship has been the catalyst for many wonderful collaborations, and there are even more exciting ventures on the horizon.”

The Shafer Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is always free.  For more information, contact the new Shafer Gallery Director Alyssa Bliven at or (620) 792-9242.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5 pm.
Closed academic holidays.
Contact: Alyssa Bliven, Gallery Director
Phone: 620-792-9342
Address: 245 NE 30 Road, Great Bend, KS 67530