Topeka’s art scene is a thriving and vibrant community with several studios at its epicenter.
The studios in Topeka are special, however, because none of them are one dimensional. Some teach classes, some offer art restoration and frame repair – all have a story to tell.
Bob and Kim Swain purchased Beauchamp’s fifteen years ago from the original owner, Paul Beauchamp, who had previously been in the area for about thirty-five years. He was 87 years old at the time and continued to work for two more years after the Swains bought his business.
“We focus on quality art and service,” said Bob Swain. “People recognize that Paul brought in quality regional art, and we continued that tradition when we bought the studio fifteen years ago. We do a lot of custom framing, art restoration and repair; that contributes to our longevity.”
Beauchamp’s has artwork from local and international artists.
The current exhibition, called “The Modernist Influence,” includes work by Viktor Vasserely, George Braque, Richard Simon and more.
There are also works from local artists who attend Washburn.
“I encourage people to come and see the art even if they’re not buying,” said Bob Swain. “I like to share stories about the art and educate people. We’re open for the Art Walk, which could be a great date night.”
Prairie Glass Studio, owned by Kymm Ledbetter, is another great studio to check out. With a focus on freedom and creativity, this studio is perfect for those seeking a way to explore their artistic side.
“Part of what makes us unique is we want you to have a good experience here,” said studio instructor, Pamela Aguilar. “We want whatever you make to be personal.”
Prairie Glass Studio offers classes and group parties for glass designing and making.
“What's beautiful about our place is we like to get to know the people that come through the door,” said Aguilar. “You're not just another face; you're part of our studio. We also have a store dog named ‘Fritz.’ He’s the sweetest boy, and I feel like he's an integral part of this shop.”
A third studio to make note of is Leaping Llamas Artisan Shop.
Leaping Llamas is owned by Alicia VanWalleghem and features a wide range of art from different mediums by local artists in addition to offering both adult and children’s art classes.
“Classes are open to everyone, and we offer about one to two a week. Our artists will come in and actually teach others themselves,” said VanWalleghem. “So, the polymer clay class is taught by our polymer clay artist. Then, every Thursday starting in March, we’ll have an open studio for kids where they can come in and create.”
VanWalleghem encourages college students to come sign up for a class – promising they will learn something new.
“For college students, we have a lot of things that they might not be aware of. I was not aware of everything that we carry even before we opened,” said VanWalleghem. “If they have a creative interest at all, it's always wise to go in and talk to the people that are working and see what you can learn.”
For a list of Topeka art studios, go to Visit Topeka's Arts and Culture webpage.
Edited by Hannah Alleyne, Jason Morrison, Wesley Tabor