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Art partners

Four married couples were among the winners in this year's Art is Ageless competition at Wichita Presbyterian Manor. We are impressed that art is a shared passion for so many couples! Find out a little more about these talented partners.

Nancy and Henry “Skip” Kreibach

Nancy has been quilting for at least 30 years and sewing most of her life, but Skip didn't pick up a paintbrush until 2004, when he took an oil painting class at the college where he taught. Now, their basement is a shared art studio and sewing room. They often consult one another on choices from fabric colors to composition.

"Our interest keeps us working in close proximity without getting in each other's way," she said. "Quilting and painting helps keep our minds and body young while we remain engaged in a common activity."

This year, Skip took first place in the painting category (professional) for "Red Pear." Nancy earned the People's Choice award (amateur) for her quilt "Ebb and Flow" and she took first in the quilting category (amateur) for "Evening Star – Feathered Star." In addition to making quilts for family, Nancy has also made "Quilts of Valor" for wounded service members. Skip works in oil as well as acrylic, pastel, and graphite.

The Kreibachs enjoy getting to participate together in both Art is Ageless and the Kansas State Fair, where Skip won the Grand Award in the professional painting division last year. Nancy's winning quilt from the 2016 competition appeared on Art is Ageless note cards, and Skip's painting was chosen as the cover image for the 2017 calendar.

Jean and Gary Stahl

We're delighted every year to see what Jean and Gary have created for Art is Ageless. Gary has been entering drawings, paintings and photos for more than a decade; Jean began competing in 2011 with needlework, crafts, jewelry and photography.

Last year, Gary's painting of the new entrance to Wichita Presbyterian Manor earned him Best in Show honors. He later donated the piece to us. This year, he took first in photography (amateur) with "Route 66." Jean won the Christmas category (amateur) with "The Nativity." The Stahls said they rely on each other for critiques and input.

"I appreciate Gary’s artistic ability and being supportive and encouraging on his artwork projects," Jean said. "As we age, we both feel it is important to continue being creative."

Prolific as they, the Stahls seem to enjoy giving their art as gifts as much as they enjoy making it. One of Gary's latest paintings depicts a university campus location where their granddaughter got engaged. Jean and Gary gave her the painting at her wedding in May.

Jack and Mary Davis

The Davises both discovered they had hidden talents thanks to courses offered at City Arts.

About 11 years ago, Jack started to learn silversmithing and jewelry-making at the arts center. Mary followed with oil painting classes about three years ago.

For Jack, the more he progressed, the more interesting and rewarding his artwork became. Typically he starts with a flat sheet of sterling silver to create rings, pendants, pins or bracelets.

"As I became more experienced I started using other metals along with the sterling," he said.

He won first place in the mixed media/crafts category (amateur) for a sterling silver ring set with a tiger's eye stone.

Mary learned early on that oil is a versatile medium. "I like that it remains workable for so long. I also appreciate that I can change my painting as I go along. It is so forgiving!" she said.

Mary purposefully created with a dark and mysterious atmosphere with her Best of Show-winning piece, "Castle on the Hill." And yet she finds beauty in the darkness. "I absolutely love the beauty God has given to us in the skies. Even when filled with dark, stormy clouds the sky is magnificent!"

Shirley and Leland Alexander

Leland learned woodworking from his grandfather, who learned it from his father, long ago in Tennessee.

"I love working with my hands to turn out natural wood furniture," Leland wrote in his Art is Ageless entry for a handmade Lodge Pole Pine wood stool. The 20-inch stool won first place in the sculpture/3-D category.

Shirley also took home a blue ribbon in the drawing category for her whimsical "Turtles Sun Bathing." She said she had wanted to make a picture of turtles for a very long time, and she finally found a photo that did her vision justice. "I've been blessed since a young girl, getting to see turtles while out fishing."

Many congratulations to these artistic couples and all of the winners in this year's Art is Ageless competition

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