Summer 2014: “Bowlus Birthday” sneak peek!

Photo courtesy of Mark Dunlap

Bowlus Birthday
The Bowlus Fine Arts Center is celebrating 50 years in Iola

Decades ago, banker Thomas H. Bowlus left most of his estate to one bold vision: the construction of a world-class fine arts and cultural center in his small hometown of Iola.

Today, as the Bowlus Fine Arts Center celebrates its 50th anniversary season, it’s probably safe to say that Mr. Bowlus would be pleased with how his visionary gift has met – and possibly exceeded – all expectation.

“The one thing for me is just the inspiration of it all; that word to me is what it’s all about,” says Susan Raines, executive director of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. “Mr. Bowlus was very interested in music … and he really wanted the students and the community to be proud of this.”

Opened in 1964 at 205 E. Madison – the first community arts center in the state of Kansas – the Bowlus Fine Arts Center has indeed been a source of pride for Iola residents over the past five decades…

Want to keep reading about the Bowlus Fine Arts Center? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, which is out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.

Summer 2014: “Makin’ Music” sneak peek!

Makin’ Music
Larry Brockway’s Hall of Fame Studio is a hit in Neodesha

Rodney Lay likes to say that Larry Brockway has big ears. 

Just not in the way you’re thinking.

“He can just hear what sounds right,” says Lay, of “Hee Haw” and Rodney & the Blazers fame. “I’ve recorded with some of the best in the business, and this guy is right there with them. I tell you what, Larry is really, really a fine engineer and record producer.”

And Brockway’s equally lauded Hall of Fame Studio is based right here in Southeast Kansas. Not Nashville or New York – but Neodesha.

“He’s just a phenomenon for this part of the country,” Lay says. “When you think about all the people he’s brought to the state, he’s been a well-kept secret for all these years – a great treasure for Southeast Kansas.”

Musicians for Merle Haggard, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Sheryl Crow, Paul McCartney: They’ve come from Nashville, Los Angeles – all over the country – to record specifically with Brockway at Hall of Fame Studio. Brockway has recognized all along that there’s something special about his small-town space, and everyone who records there has to agree…

Want to keep reading about Hall of Fame Studio? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, which is out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.