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With at least 70 tickets sold, the third annual Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art Cornfest celebration had its largest gathering since its 2016 inception.

The dozens in attendance Sunday, Sept. 9, spent their afternoon and early evening perusing about the Butler County Event Center eyeing works from the “Worthy Rivals: Dale Nichols and Terence Duren” collection, hitching horse carriage rides to the newly planted corn maze located a few miles outside of David City and bidding on an assortment of silent auction items to help with the museum’s operating expenses.

Museum Curator Amanda Mobley Guenther said the gathering of art lovers is showing no signs of slowing down; she thinks Cornfest attendance numbers will continue increasing year after year moving forward.

“Some organizations have been around for 20 or 30 years and they have a built audience and people know what they are all about,” Mobley Guenther said of more established organizations hosting similar events. “But we are still getting the ball rolling because we are kind of the new kids on the block with the whole concept of a fundraiser dinner and raising funds for the museum.”

The museum, established in 2008, is celebrating its 10th year of benefiting the greater David City community. Mobley Guenther, serving in the curator capacity since its doors opened, prides herself on what the nonprofit organization has accomplished in a relatively short time frame.

Bone Creek’s work has been featured in magazines, people from all 50 states have crossed its threshold and it’s the only true agrarian-themed museum in the United States, according to Ron Clarke, president of the museum’s Board of Directors.

“So when you see people traveling all the way from Maine just to come here, it’s pretty incredible,” Clarke said.

Mobley Guenther said agrarian art being the key component of her displays is vital because farmland, nature and crops are aspects of many people’s lives in Nebraska and the David City Area as a whole. It’s something they personally connect with, which is paramount when viewing works of art, she said.

“This agrarian focus that we have, it’s perfect that we are in a small town. It immediately resonates with this community that we have art about the land,” she said. “And the majority of the people that live around here make their living from the land. So it’s not a foreign concept, it’s not modern art just showing a big red dot on a blank canvas or something like that … That wouldn’t resonate with this community, but the art we have draws emotions out of people.”

Sisters Mary McCawlay and Deb Kirschenman traveled from Omaha back to their childhood community to visit the museum and to support its cause.

“We just think it’s really neat that there is a museum in David City, Nebraska, where we grew up,” McCawlay said. “… It’s something that’s very impressive, especially for the size of the city.”

The fact that Mobley Guenther and her cohorts are able to bring a unique art-viewing experience to area residents is gratifying, she said. It’s a hotspot for local field trips and educational gatherings, which is vital in a time where numerous schools have been forced to cut back on the arts because of financial constraints.

“We bring national artists and original artwork to Butler County; fine artists who make their living doing art,” Mobley Guenther said. “In small towns – and even in not small towns – arts programs are the first to get cut out of your budget. So for our kids to be able to walk to the museum on a field trip and see original, historic art, that’s an important educational value that we bring to the area right here in David City.”

Clarke, in his third year as board president, said a continued focus on networking with the local and area art community through events like Cornfest will continue propelling Bone Creek Agrarian Art Museum down the path of success moving forward.

“The more things we do like this the more support we will continue to get locally,” He said. “Because if we ever plan to expand and get larger we are going to have to have that local support.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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