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


18th Annual
Arts Council Juried Exhibition

CityArts - Main Gallery
334 N Mead St

Final Friday, October 27th
6:00pm - 8:00pm


One of my favorite annual traditions is the Arts Council Juried Exhibition, an annual exhibition sponsored by the Arts Council and hosted by CitArts. Artists ages 18+ from Kansas are invited to submit their work for consideration into the juried exhibition. This year the exhibition was juried by Harvester Arts founders Kristin Beal and Kate Van Steenhuyse. Kristin and Kate selected 68 works from a pool of 500 entries. The work they selected is a great sampling of contemporary Kansas art and offers a wide variety of flavors to suit every taste.

Q&A with Jurors Kristin Beal and Kate Van Steenhuyse

Can you explain the selection process for the Arts Council Juried Exhibition?

KVS: The submissions are organized in such a way as to remove all identifying information-- we didn’t know names, backgrounds of the artist, and even the images are mixed up so that we weren’t viewing work by the same person all in any sort of sequential order. We worked together to each compile a list of pieces we liked, compared our lists, discussed, debated, edited--rinse & repeat until we got down to a workable number. It was a very difficult but rewarding process.
KB: All of the entries were compiled into a powerpoint. We reviewed them separately and only had title, medium, scale info about each piece. We each made a list of around 60 works.

Was it easy to reach an agreement on which pieces should be selected for the exhibit? 
KVS: Not at all. In some ways it may have been easier to be a sole juror, and yet it was also nice to be able to discuss and bounce opinions off someone else. Especially since the goal of a show like this is to choose an accurate overview of the submissions--so to have another person to keep your natural biases in check was really great.
KB: No. I think we only agreed on 20 works at first.

Did you notice any common themes or trends in the work that was submitted?
KVS: There really was a wide variety of themes and mediums submitted, it was a pleasure to be able to see so much artwork happening in our community.
KB: No. There was really a variety of work.

Do you have any advice for artists that may wish to submit their work to the Arts Council Juried exhibition next year?
KVS: The images have to be good quality, well-lit and cropped to just the image with no clutter in the background.  Since that’s the only thing we have to go on, make sure it’s the best possible representation of your work!
KB: Get good quality images of your work! If you can’t hire a professional take the time to educate yourself on how to get the best documentation possible. Make sure the images are well lit and cropped to give the best representation of your work.

Artist Statements

Denise M. Irwin
"Ungrounded 1-Amphora"

"Travels to Roman ruins in southern France as well as indigenous cultures of the American Southwest have informed my recent work.  Vessels have depicted the feminine throughout history and I have been exploring their depiction in art and culture. 

Whether seen as the human body or a man-made artifact, vessels accept, hold and preserve. As a classic symbol of the feminine, the vessel has been revered across cultures and time. When speaking about a clay vessel we talk about it as if it were a person. We use terms such as its foot, neck, belly, lip, shoulder and body.  My vessels take this anthropomorphism and accentuate the feminine form without overtly depicting it. I work to emphasize this beauty in the volume and movement of my forms.

But vessels also constrain and limit. Constrained by the family and the culture in which we live, our ability to see the possibilities in front of us is limited. We are shaped and misshapen by the expectations of those near us, our cultural beliefs, and our personal fears and aspirations.  With this in mind, my vessels reflect this constraint in their limited utilitarian functionality to hold liquids or solids."

Shannon - I Feel Glorious.jpg

Kirsten Shannon
"I Feel Glorious"

"While I stand in front of a vast barren canvas, my bluetooth is crooning, the studio door is open, and I exhale.  This is the time I have set aside to make my mark.  I have had this color palate in mind for weeks and am filled with emotion.  There is a vibe of carefree ecstasy or a sentiment of melancholy worry.  Often it is Joy.  Somedays its the space in between.   I am inspired by the Peace that transcends and artists I admire.  Joe Bradley, Joan Mitchell come to mind and there are countless others.  I  want the work that I do to cause the viewer to feel those same feelings.  To make feelings tactile.  And I Feel Glorious and Worry Tic Tac Toe do that.  Through bold colors, confidently loose strokes, and paint as frosting, the viewer and I; we are free.  If even for a moment."

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Erin Raux


"My work is an instinctive progression of gathering. I collect objects and sort them in order to associate them with my own memories and try to relate them to the viewer. Using a wide range of mainly domestic and mundane found objects, I explore their captivating qualities and sense of tactility in a manner that addresses humanity without utilizing the human form. I create meaningful object oriented installations surrounding topics of connection, death, history, and mourning, and in particular how our culture copes with these topics through nostalgia and object based memory.

Materials such as pantyhose and wax give the viewer a feeling of skin and body. By acquiring and uniting contrasting materials, a new identity is created. The original products I use achieve new meaning, and are the bridge between the viewer and the new ideas or questions I propose. Objects are physical proof of our lives, and therefore allow viewers to connect with the work by way of their existing, past, and fantasy relationships with ordinary things.  I seek to evoke a sense of loss, connection, memorialization, and wonder through inherently understated objects."


Matthew Leahy

"My inspiration for the ‘Effigies’ series comes from multiple directions. My usual style is a very refined and carefully composed magical realism expressed in painting or drawing, which I approach from a meditative and introspective mindset. After I experienced a profoundly negative life event a few years ago, that ‘meditative place’ has been very difficult to find, and my output declined.

One of the more enjoyable opportunities offered to art students at Highland Community College (where I teach) is a monthly ‘First Friday extra credit’ artwork, which requires each participant to use a specific media, theme, or material. On the First Friday students hang their work in the hallway. Art department faculty often join in the fun as well. The first Effigy was born from this activity, which required that each person use a thin wooden Popsicle stick in the artwork somehow. 

The Effigies are liberating to some extent because they are removed from my typical artworks in form and method. Primitive and amusingly quaint aspects are drawn from my admiration of folk art. The Effigies’ naïve appearance, manipulation of simple materials, and incorporation of found objects allows me to tap creativity, randomness, and whimsicality again- all the while exhibiting my long-term fascination with the human subject or figure substitute."

Howerton - Nana Nana boo boo.jpg

Ryan Howerton
"Nana Nana Boo Boo, Stick My Head In Du Du"

"This piece has to do with an inner struggle and how it can always seem like you're fighting with yourself and holding yourself back from being the best you can be, or reaching your goals. Although there is this more serious underlying meaning, I try to handle it in a comedic way much like I do with everything else in life."

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Torin Andersen
"Red Rocket Rover"

"The two works on display at City Arts represent a small part of larger series entitled ADVENTUREMOBILE.  These particular vehicles and the environment in which they’re found were directly inspired by my work and research into creating sound design for Patrick Duegaws recent “Pierced by Dogma” exhibition at the Ulrich Museum of Art.  In my quest to create a carnival-esque sonic atmosphere I ran across images of ferris wheels, roller coasters and even drew inspiration from the Kansas State fair grounds.  These ADVENTUREMOBILE watercolor paintings are meant to represent the varying lifestyles of those who choose to live life on the road.


Emily Brookover
The Broken Winter

Riney Fine Arts Center - Friends University
2100 W University Ave

Final Friday, October 27th
5:00pm - 7:00pm


Emily Brookover, the super amazing Artistic Director at CityArts, is exhibiting a new series of graphite drawings at the Riney Fine Arts Gallery at Friends University. Her drawings are calm and quiet and elegant. They are also masterfully drawn. They are often simple and minimalist and favor large areas of negative space. One drawing features a contour drawing of a hand holding a single leaf surround by a large field of white space. The leaf is drawn in a more photorealistic style. Other drawings verge more towards abstraction and hint at mountain filled landscapes or stormy skies. The shapes remind me of the swirling clouds and mountain forms in Georgia O’Keeffe’s work.

Emily won’t be present at the Riney Fine Arts Gallery on Final Friday because she will be doing the lords work at CityArts but she will be having an artist reception on Friday, November 3rd, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. 

Artist Q&A with Emily Brookover

When did you first begin creating art?
For as long as I can remember, I was making something – drawing, painting, writing, whatever. And I think I was making art long before I knew that’s what I was doing. I took some art classes in high school but I’m from a rural community and I didn’t see my first art museum until I was in college. My definition of “art” growing up was limited to Bob Ross and a few 19th century art history books. This was pre-internet, remember. Looking at my work now, I can absolutely see how my upbringing in southwest Kansas and my minimal exposure to traditional art has influenced me.  

Can you please describe your creative process?
This is tricky because I don’t really have a typical “process.” I see in images, if that makes sense. If I have a question or an idea or a story, I rarely have the words, but I can draw it. It’s my mode of communication. I think that is why my work inherently carries a sense of intimacy, because they truly are intimate.  I’m sorry I can’t elaborate – I’m not so good with words sometimes.

Who or what has been inspiriting you lately?
I draw an enormous amount of inspiration from nature – wildlife, plants, the sky, landscapes in general. My fiancé and I took a trip up to Wyoming a few months ago, I’d never been to that area, and I just absolutely fell in love. I was taking pictures and documenting everything! This new series of work definitely has moments from my trip.  I could go to a completely foreign landscape or bop out to the Flint Hills which I’ve been to a million times – it doesn’t matter.  As a wise woman once told me, when in need, return to the trees.

How has your role as the Artistic Director at CityArts influenced or inspired your own work?
Am I lucky, or what? I am surrounded by art every day at my job and that art changes every month! I mean, get outta here. It is amazing. I love seeing what all of the artists are doing. I love seeing their processes, how they handle presentation, their new materials. It’s constantly Christmas here. I can’t say I’ve been consciously influenced, but I’m sure it’s happening on some level. I’m definitely inspired every month by artists’ talent and work ethic and creativity.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
I love Spotify. Loooooove Spotify. Those daily mixes they do, just too much. And I have this playlist that is lamely titled “working” – I know, original – that I just add songs to regularly. John Craigie, Drive-By Truckers, Middle Brother, Gregory Alan Isakov all make appearances. If it has a sad sounding fiddle, I’m into it. It’s a rather depressing list of songs, but it gets me to where I need to go.

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
My answer is going to be underwhelming and not very cool or hip. Surprise, surprise. I go home. I’m a homebody to my core. So when I need to recharge and regroup, I hunker down in my warm, wonderful home. I wish I could say something cool like a coffee shop or café but I can’t. Because it is my home I go to.


Brady Scott

Gallery Alley
616 E. Douglas Avenue

Final Friday, October 27th
5:30pm - 9:00pm 


Brady Scott is a graphic designer, an illustrator, a painter, a muralist and banjo player. I first discovered Brady Scott’s incredible work in July of 2016 when he exhibited his paintings at Justin McClure Creative, a motion design studio based in Old Town. It was love at first sight. His paintings were bold and colorful and vibrating with energy. His portraits of Marlin Monroe and Biggie Smalls left a lasting impression. Brady skillfully juggles a wide variety of mediums and techniques including spray paint, airbrush and traditional drawing and painting techniques. His work is a wonderful mix of graffiti, cubism, pop art, and traditional American tattoo art. His work has an urban aesthetic but often depicts the flora and fauna of the midwest. It is common to see birds, bees, turtles, snakes, owls, coyotes, squirrels, buffalo and other prairie critters exploring a colorful sea of swirling lines and paint drips. His illustration style hovers in that mystical space between “realism” and “cartoony.” His illustrations of animals are rendered with smooth, realistic shading but he often exaggerates their features to create a more expressive and dynamic image. I’m a huge fan of Brady’s work and I highly encourage all of you to stop by the Gallery Alley on Final Friday to see his amazing paintings. Brady will also be doing some live painting during the event.

Artist Q&A with Brady Scott

When did you first begin creating art?
I’ve been making art my entire life. I can’t remember a time when I was not drawing, painting or making something.

What inspired you to create murals?
Murals are the best! You really have to bring your A game. The wall is never smooth. There is always some pipe or electrical line in the way. Crawling up and down a ladder, and getting the proportions right on a large scale can be super frustrating. However, there is nothing more invigorating than creating in the great outdoors in full view. Everyone who passes by becomes part of the process. People honk and stop to watch. I meet all kinds of people and hear so many interesting stories. There is nothing like it, and I honestly believe that this is OUR art movement. Street Art & Mural festivals are happening all over the planet and artists from all kinds of backgrounds are crafting incredible works of art on an amazing scale. Future generations will be reading about this time in the history books.

Can you please describe your creative process?
I start everything with rough sketches. I hated them when I was in school, but sketching out a composition and really developing an idea is crucial. I also love to research an idea. It’s important for me to wrap my head around an idea and to read back stories, browsing the google for imagery to reference my drawings and add authentic details to a piece. 

You use a wide variety of different mediums in your work including graphite, markers, acrylics, colored pencils and spray paint. What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing art instructor. Mrs. Robin Himes had us create in every medium under the sun and explore which one is best for a particular outcome. I love having that arsenal to draw upon to get the exact look or mark I am striving for. My current favorite and obsession is spray paint. It is one of the most difficult and unforgiving mediums, but it’s so fun and primal. There is no cheating or tricks in spray paint. If you don’t know what you are doing it is immediately noticeable. I’ve only been using it for 1.5 years, but I feel like a kid again every time. Learning new techniques and really finding that fire in my creative heart that has driven me to dedicate my life to being an artist.

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
Dude! Everything. It is such an amazing time to be an artist. I feel humbled and inspired every time I get on Instagram and explore the amazing work that so many artists are creating out there. I also love nature and good stories. I walk outside every chance I get. Kansas is an awesome place to watch the weather change. I feel fortunate to live in an area that is so close to nature. I see wild turkeys, pheasants, hawks and deer all the time. There is nothing more inspiring than feeling that rush when you cross paths with a wild animal.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
Good tunes are crucial! I did’t spend allot of time in the studio this year though. I spent my summer traveling and painting murals. My top 3 have been anything by The Steel Drivers, Town Mountain and Rancid. The first 2 are more traditional fast, driving bluegrass bands and Rancid is one of my all time favorite punk rock bands. Those 3 bands always get me pumped up and excited to create. I also love just listening to the sounds of the city. If you turn the music down and listen, each city has it’s own unique audio footprint.

As winter approaches I will be spending more time in the studio and I absolutely LOVE audio books. Currently re-listening to “Land of Echoes” by Daniel Hecht. He writes some incredible ghost stories. I also recommend anything by James Lee Burke and Charles Fraizier.

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
Spending time with my family is the perfect creative reset. My wife and I enjoy parking somewhere downtown and just walking the streets. There are so many good spots to grab a bite to eat, or a fresh cup of coffee and tool around downtown checking out the shops. I also love taking the kids to ice sport. I grew up ice skating ponds in rural Greenwood County, but it often doesn’t get cold enough now for the ice to freeze thick enough. Ice sport is a great spot to skate around and share those memories with my kiddos.


Richard Davies

Reuben Saunders Gallery
3215 East Douglas Ave

Final Friday, October 27th
5:30pm - 9:00pm


Richard Davies is a masterful painter who employs classical techniques to create stunning paintings of people, places, and things. A common subject of his work is Wichita landmarks, many of which can be discovered along Douglas Ave. Familiar places like the Orpheum Theatre, Traditions Home, The Anchor, Mead’s Corner, The Bicycle X-Change, The Spice Merchant and many others are immortalized in expressive strokes of luscious oil paint. His paintings encourage you to take a closer look at those familiar places and develop a deeper appreciation for them.

Richard employs the same mastery of light, color and form when painting a bowl of fruit, a landscape or a portrait. He renders just enough detail to capture an accurate likeness of his subject but he allows his paintings to stay loose and expressive to give them more emotional impact. He is an incredible portrait painter. His portraits are vibrant and full of life. He captures the heart and soul of his subjects.

Richard is the real deal. Go see his wonderful work at the Reuben Saunders Gallery. 

Artist Q&A with Richard Davies

Can you please describe your creative process? 
My creative process is based on classical techniques. Because few people have the time to sit for portraits, I take source photos using bracketing to capture what no camera can capture. After getting accurate images, I create a drawing using proportional measurement. I adjust the drawing to better capture the emotion. Humans are very sensitive to the slightest changes in features, so I use micro changes to get what I want. I try to make the surface interesting, using beautiful marks that unify at a distance but are interesting up close. My landscapes and still lifes are similarly carefully orchestrated to achieve the exact emotion wanted. If the painting doesn’t work, I scrub it down and start over.

You’ve created several paintings of Wichita street scenes, what inspired you to create paintings of Wichita and how do you select the subjects of your paintings?
I paint our reality. Wichita is my reality. Every moment is a perfect moment where beauty, mystery, loneliness, or any emotion can be elicited in what T. S. Eliot calls objective correlative. Hopper achieved these feelings in his landscapes. 

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by Vincent Desiderio’s work. He uses unusual materials and explores difficult human emotions. 

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
I don’t listen to music. I’m pretty much entirely visual. When I do listen to something, it is lectures like the Yale Art History series, but mostly I listen to artist interviews on The Suggested Donation podcast.

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
To renew myself, I like to take in a live theater production, one of Wichita’s hidden treasures. More visual artists should attend theater. Actors often attend openings and purchase local art. The Fisch Haus puts on theatrical performances on occasion, and they are wonderful!


Artist Cooperative

Vertigo 232 Art Gallery
232 N Market St

Final Friday, October 27th
6:00pm - 10:00pm


Idology is an artist cooperative founded in 2004 by David Christiansen, Chris Frank, Greg Johnson, Ted Krone, Ed Langston, Greg Turner and Mark Walker. This Final Friday Idology is hosting their 10th art exhibition “Not Too Old To Scratch The Itch” at the Vertigo 232 Art Gallery. They are joined by guest artists Margaret Sweeton and Tara Hufford Walker. It is an extraordinary feat for an artist cooperative to last 13 years without imploding or losing original members. This is a cause for celebration!

The exhibition features a wide variety of work including elaborate Celtic motifs by Margaret Sweeton, drip paintings by Chris Frank, pour paintings by Greg Johnson, brightly colored found object assemblages and paintings by Greg Turner and a delightful recreation of Pee Wee’s Playhouse by Tara Hufford Walker to make a few.