Since I am the creator and caretaker of the Wichita Art Scene Facebook Group, I am often asked which Final Friday events I recommend attending. I'll start by saying that I am NOT a Final Friday expert, and that my recommendations are based on my own personal preferences and tastes. I want to say, "go to all of them", but that would be an impossible task. Having too many awesome Final Friday events is a good problem to have.

Every month I will shine a spotlight on 3 or 4 exhibitions that I recommend seeing. These are the exhibitions that I am most excited to see myself. I should also note that I haven't seen any of these exhibitions yet. My recommendations are based on previous works by the artists or on promotional materials released by the artist or gallery. I encourage all of you to join the Wichita Art Scene Facebook Group to see the full list of Final Friday events happening in Wichita, Kansas.

- Dustin Parker

Emily Miller Yamanaka
Cranes Over Crop Circles



Tessera Fine Art Gallery
412 E. Douglas Suite C.
Final Friday, April 28th
6:00pm - 9:00pm


Emily Miller Yamanaka's exhibition at Tessera Fine Art Gallery is Aptly titled "Cranes Over Crop Circles", because her work is the result of living in both Wichita, KS and Tokyo, Japan. Her recent work often features common midwestern imagery such as sunflowers, roosters, wheat stalks, bison, tornado, crop circles, vast prairie landscapes and beautiful sunsets. These are images that are common to Kansas, but they are depicted with bright colors and patterns that evoke the colorful chaos of the Tokyo cityscape. It is also common to see images of origami birds, Japanese cranes and Chrysanthemums appear in her work. Her paintings are delicate but meticulously crafted with multiple layers of patterns and textures. It is common to see dripping paint colliding with intricate flourishes and floral patterns. She works with both paper and textiles, often using found textiles to create elaborate fabric collages that exhibit the same meticulous detail as her painted works. Her work is both beautiful and impressive. It is fascinating to see familiar Kansas imagery presented with a Japanese aesthetic. If you were born and raised in Kansas you’ve seen plenty of paintings of wheat fields and sunflowers but Emily allows us to see these things with a fresh pair of eyes.

You can also see some of Emily’s Wichita inspired paintings at The Hudson (508 S. Commerce St) this Final Friday.

ARTIST Q&A with Emily Miller Yamanaka

How has living in Japan influenced your work?
In so many ways! I soaked up so much in the almost ten years I was there, going to every exhibition I could and marveling at old Master works, and also just appreciating the tradition that weaves itself into daily life. The materials themselves have been really inspirational to me. Learning traditional Japanese ink painting has forever changed my concept of line and the layering of the mineral pigments has developed the way I perceive and create colors on a fundamental level. It’s all become so integrated in my head and I love it. There’s this idea of “美学,” (bigaku: aesthetics) that everything should be done beautifully, that there is an element of beauty in every part of life, and it has really impacted my art and the “beauty” of it.

You often use found textiles in your work. Where do you find your textile materials and how do you select which textiles are worthy for your art?
The kimono fabrics are all selected from small shops and markets across Japan, mainly in Kyoto and Tokyo. The needlework pieces I use to create echoes of pattern and texture are all hand-made by Midwestern women and I find them mostly at estate sales here in Wichita. I am selective with both, and I only choose the pieces that I can see ten steps ahead to how they will fit into a final piece. I really love the hand-painted silks and remnants/scraps – this idea of taking these thrown away pieces and giving them a new life in my work.

Can you explain your creative process?
I am in love with layers and with celebrating random elements of chance. Lately, I’ve been using lots of spray paint through needlework to build up layers of texture and pattern, then I layer acrylics on top of those and add the vibrant mineral pigments and golds on the surface. I have this library of books I collected in Japan for reference material, and I am always flipping through them for inspiration.

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
I am inspired every day by my 3 year old daughter Izora and the magic she brings to everything and I try to paint dreamy interpretations of this constant magic. I am also so inspired by the natural beauty of Kansas, especially the endless sky. I also recently discovered Lorazombie on Instagram and I love her neons and drippy inks.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
I’ve been listening to lots of Korean Pop Music (K-pop) like TaeYang. It feels so technicolor to me. I love singing along really loud to Adele as I paint, and so often Trolls or Moana is playing in the background as I work.

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
Especially now that it’s warming up, I love spending time in parks with my daughter – we love stopping at the Donut Whole. Something about the yellow in there… it’s the hardest color for me to work with in my art, but somehow going there always just feels good (even though I don’t even like donuts, but Izzo’s favorite is the Homer J).

Charlotte Martin
Yard Work, Part 2


334 N Mead St
Final Friday, April 28th
6:00pm - 8:00pm


Charlotte Martin’s recent work explores the wonders that can be discovered in your own backyard. You might discover a bird’s nest sitting precariously on a tree branch or a row of birds perched on a telephone wire. You may also find a giant grasshopper or a beautiful flower growing among the weeds. These wonders of nature are drawn and painted in a crude and expressive fashion. The paint drips. The charcoal smears. The graphite scribbles. The colors dance. The Textures beg to be touched. Charlotte’s work is both beautiful and visceral. Charlotte’s mark making, use of color and overall flatness of her compositions often remind me of the work of Jim Dine. Her heavy use of grids often remind of me artists like Richard Diebenkorn or Jasper Johns. If you remove the birds and the sprawling tree branches you are left with wonderful abstract paintings. Large fields of color are interrupted by checkerboard patterns, scribbles, crudely drawn circles and runaway paint drips. Her incredible ceramic work uses the same arsenal of color, line, texture and pattern that she uses in her two-dimensional works. "Yard Work, Part 2” is a really wonderful exhibit and I can’t wait to see Part 3.

While you are already at CityArts make sure you check out the three other exhibits on display in the gallery: "Dichotomies" by Sasha Chapek  in the Main Hall Gallery, "Persona" by Megan Ewert  in the Balcony Gallery and "Inspirations" by Karen Scroggins  in the Boardroom Gallery. The Balcony Gallery and the Boardroom Gallery is on the second floor.

ARTIST Q&A with Charlotte Martin

What inspired you to start drawing/painting birds?
When I was eight, my family moved from a new post World War II surburban house in Dallas, Texas to an older neighborhood in the small city of Little Rock, Arkansas. Behind our house was a wooded area and small creek. I had never experienced anything like it. My knowledge of nature was lawn grass  and small young trees. That was my intro to nature and birds. I drew my first bird book that first year in Ark.

You work with a wide variety of different media, what is your favorite medium to work with and why?
Water soluble media works well for me. There are so many variables available that provide freedom for me. Pastel, acrylic, graphite,  and gouache can all be used together to accomplish different effects.

Can you explain your creative process?
This is a tough one. Sometimes it's like magic happens, and there's a vision completely finished in your mind, and all you have to do is transfer it to canvas or paper. Other times, that vision is hazy and not so easy to copy, so then it's more of a combination between "magic" and the experience that comes with doing – lots of doing.

Who or what has been inspiring you lately?
Nature has always inspired me. I believe nature is the source of inspiration for all we create, whether directly or indirectly. Really, what else do we know? Isn't the entire universe nature?

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
It would be hard to paint without music. I like a variety and I guess it depends on what mood I'm in. This past week I've been listening to Lord Huron, Florence and the Machine, Gotye, and The Black Keys.

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
I'm such a homebody, most inspiration comes right out of my yard or from taking a walk around the neighborhood.

Blue Period


Vertigo 232 Art Gallery
232 N Market St
Final Friday, April 28th
6:00pm - 10:00pm


There once was an art gallery in Wichita called The Firehouse Gallery, and for many years it was the incubator for the “alternative" art scene in Wichita. It was a gallery that gave many of us once young and hungry artists an opportunity to showcase our talents and become part of a larger creative community. There were many memorable exhibitions at the Firehouse Gallery, but no other exhibition has spurred more trips down memory lane than Mark S. Walker’s “Red” exhibit in 2002. The exhibit showcased a couple dozen local artists and featured artwork that was predominantly red in color. The artists were free to create whatever they wanted as long as it was the color red. 15 years later, the “Red” exhibit has finally received the sequel it deserves. The “Blue Period” at Mark S. Walker’s Vertigo 232 Art Gallery is an exhibit featuring over 50 local and regional artists and all of the artwork in the exhibit is blue. “The Blue Period” offers a little something for everyone. The exhibit showcases a wide variety of styles, mediums and themes, and it is a great way to sample the rich diversity of the Wichita Art scene.

Featured Artists:
Aaron Krone, Alex Walker, Amy Warfield, Ann Krone, Brad Ruder, Brittany Schaar, Charles Baughman, Charlotte Martin, Chiyoko Myose, Chris Frank, Christopher Gulick, Chuck Dooms, David Christiansen, Denise Melinda Irwin, Dustin Parker, Ed Langston, Erin Raux, Georgia Andersen, Hallie Linnebur, Heather Byers, Ian Stewart, Jack Wilson, Jim Phillips, Jonathan Wood, Josh Johnico, Josh Tripoli, Kevin Mullins, Kody Ramsey, Lauren Fitz Miller, Lee Shiney, Leigh Wallace, Maia Petroucheva, Marc Bosworth, Marc Marshall, Margaret Sweeton, Mark Walker, Mary Werner, Matthew Hilyard, Matthew Miller, Meghan Miller, Melissa Slates, Michael Pointer, Mike Miller, Paul Hudson, Rachel Foster, Rebecca Hoyer, Rebekah Lewis, Richard Crowson, Sara Crow, Shannon Renee Trevethan, Sonny Laracuente, Stacy Renee, Tabitha Oblinger Bean, Tara Hufford Walker, Ted Krone, Torin Andersen and Victor Alonso.