November 2012

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October 2012

The Last Word:

Tour of a Bygone, but Progressive, Era

Heart of America group gets a tour of Wichita Scottish Rite Masonic Center stage and scenery.

Photos/Mark Putman

Heart of America Regional Section had a very successful fall event in Wichita, Kansas, September 8. Twenty participants were treated to a scenery and back stage tour of the Wichita Scottish Rite Masonic Center. The morning tour included parts of the original 1887 YMCA building designed by architects Proudfoot and Bird. The YMCA building was bought in 1898 by the Scottish Rite organization, and an addition was completed in 1908 which featured a 300-seat auditorium with scenery by Sosman and Landis of Chicago. This same scenery was featured at the National Conference in Wichita in 1993.

Event participants split in the afternoon for either a hands-on painting demonstration of Faux Stained Glass led by Rachel Downs or two presentations by her husband Michael Downs. Photos of both events are available on Heart of America's website.

Wichita designer Michael Downs presents "Getting Noticed: The New Sandwich Board."

These faux marble painted columns are shown looking east inside the south entrance to original YMCA building. Stained glass entry doors can be seen reflected in the mirror to the right. The building's curved turret is beyond the round columns to the right.

A view of operating rail at Wichita Scottish Rite Masonic Center. The scenery is never changed; hence there is no need for traditional rope brakes, and linesets are on six-inch centers. Larger spaces are for three color strip lights.

Rachel Downs discusses the process of making faux stained glass window scenic pieces. Examples of other stained glass pieces can be seen in the background.