Community Art Center Tribute To Local Art Therapist

By: Lindsay Shively Email
By: Lindsay Shively Email

For decades, the capital city has been a great resource for art therapy, all thanks to one local man. Bob Ault is nationally known for pioneering the field of art therapy. He did so largely from his art academy in Topeka.

Former student Nancy Jones took classes from him for five years and then life tragedies brought her back.

"When my husband died, I thought. I really need to get back to my art. Bob said come back and then my house flooded and then I came back. Then when Bob went in to the hospital.

In February, Bob Ault passed away from respiratory failure. Jones remembers the days after. "When Bob died, we all kind of looked at each other. It was very emotional and we all thought 'I guess this is going to come to an end.' but none of us wanted it to."

And so after getting his wife's blessing and searching for a good location Bob's former students and friends opened an art center for the community to enjoy.

"It's as though Bob gave us a way to express ourselves. So when naming it, I thought 'Why not Legacy for Bob, for what he had given us.?"

So the Legacy Community Art Center was born, with reminders of its inspiration everywhere. From the chair in which Bob sat to the brushes he used, even the easels he designed and built.

"We really like the idea that they had paint on them already, it meant they were used. It's an art studio! You don't want to feel like you have to be careful!" Jones laughed.

And of course a rendering of Bob looking on adds a finishing touch to the studio.

"It's him. You feel that same sense of warmth and he would just enveloppe you. When my husband died, I got a big bear hug. He was a big man, but a big man emotionally. You can see that smile, he always knew what to say. It's something that Bob gave us that you can be creative and it can take you someplace. And this is where it's taken us as artists."

The Legacy Community Art Center is now open. You can find classes for kids and adults, as well as open studio time if you just need a place to paint."

You can find the Legacy Community Art Center at Southeast 6th and Lane.

If you'd like to find out class times and fees, just give them a call at 785-228-2236.


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