The Shafer Gallery at Barton Community College received another painting for its permanent collection this week – this time from one of its students.
Longtime Great Bend artist Esther Maher has been taking painting and ceramics classes at Barton since 1975. One walk through her home, which is riddled with paintings, bowls, pots and sculptures, gives visitors a good idea of what one can accomplish with nearly 40 years of art classes.
She took last semester off for health reasons, but she’s back on her feet with a recharged, inherently positive attitude, and has every intention of returning to Barton in the spring.
“I can’t talk very well. I can’t hear very well. I can’t see very well,” she said with an ornery grin. “But I’m not buried!”
Shafer Art Gallery Director Dave Barnes said he’s honored that Maher would choose the gallery to be the home for one of her pieces, and mentioned that Maher has earned quite the reputation in the local art scene.
“Bill Forst (current ceramics instructor) says she’s ‘fearless,’ and (former ceramics instructor) Linda Ganstrom says she ‘defies gravity’,” Barnes said. “The energy she brings to the classroom is infectious and many art students will remember her forever. They all talk about how Esther is such an inspiration, that she’s so energetic and that she can go from one medium to another and get out of her comfort zone.”
Maher said her history with the college was her reason for donating “Arizona,” which she painted while visiting Tucson, Ariz.
“The college has been good to me,” she said.