Jirak family to showcase their talents at Lindsborg

Five family artists with Marion County connections?four siblings and a first cousin?are collaborating to bring their individual artistic abilities into play through a two-day residency Sept. 3 and 4 at the Red Barn Studio in Linds?borg.

Siblings Steve Jirak, Kelly Montgom?ery, Shelley Plett and Cindy Mueller, and cousin Bryan H. Davies, all of whom grew up in Marion County, will contribute their diverse talents to a presentation based on a child?ren?s story Plett wrote titled, ?Donny Tackerbag, The Sensitive Toed-Toad.?

The single-story concept will combine the written word, finger-style guitar music, whimsical cartooning, realistic pencil Illustration and photography.

Jirak is a full-time, solo finger-style guitarist. He is self taught and has been playing guitar for 35 years. For the past eight years, he has been a guitar instructor at Bethany College, where he enjoys teaching both adults and children.

Jirak has played all over the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean at countless clubs, hotels, resorts and festivals, as well as aboard cruise ships.

?You name it, I?ve played it,? he said.

Jirak recorded a full-length CD in 2008 titled ?Baby Moon,? and is working toward a second, and possible third, compilation of original songs and unique renditions of more well-known popular songs.

The newest recordings are being played on his custom, one-of-a-kind?and soon to be patented?multi-neck guitar.

Jirak finds inspiration for his music in other peoples? music and art.

?I feel very fortunate to have creative siblings to steal ideas from and to use as ?critics.??

Montgomery, a graphic artist and illustrator for more than 25 years, is the advertising designer for the Lindsborg News-Record. Her primary choices of media are digital, pencil, pen and ink, and acrylics.

Montgomery?s artistic style is realism, and she pulls her inspiration from animals of all kinds. She, husband Larry and son Michael reside in Lindsborg. Daughter Amanda and son-in-law Nathan live in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Plett has worked in writing, advertising, layout and design for 16 years and works in design at the Hillsboro Free Press. Parts of Speech, the column she writes twice a month for the Free Press, also appears in the Lindsborg News-Record.

Plett lives in Hillsboro with her daughters. She currently is at work on her first novel.

Mueller has had a life-long love of landscape. As a child, her father encouraged her to find pictures in the clouds and appreciate the simple beauty of the rising and setting sun.

A self-taught photographer currently living in Assaria, Mueller said her love of the medium is a passionate hobby. She prefers photographing nature instead of people, because ?tree?s don?t blink.?

Artist Bryan H. Davies lives with wife Carole and their daughters in Marion. He divides his time between custodial work at USD 408 and his downtown art studio.

Davies? focus is limited-edition whimsical nursery prints and illustrations. Davies has re-entered the art field after a number of years. He previously worked in the commercial art field after receiving a bachelor of fine arts from Kansas State University.

The family members welcome the public to visit with them about their joint artistic collaboration, as well as their individual endeavors as artists, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Barn Studio, located at 212 S. Main in Lindsborg.

The Red Barn Studio originally was the working studio of professional artist and craftsman Lester Raymer (1907-1991). It was restored and opened as a museum to the public in September 1997.

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