Art Workshop for Youth held at Fort Scott NHS as Part of Annual Trailblazer Workshop

Youth artists working around a table

Young artists learn about the use of color

NPS Photo

Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Arts Afire
Also Promotes:
Next Generation Stewards
Year Accomplished:

There are many ways to tell the story of Fort Scott National Historic Site.  There are books, a movie, exhibits, buildings and artifacts, ranger led programs, an audio tour, living history…and there is art. 

During the weeks of July 18-22, 2016 and August 1-5, 2016, 17 children total attended the annual Trailblazer program, offered two different weeks this year.  The Trailblazer program, now in its seventeenth year, is a weeklong workshop designed to introduce youth to the National Park Service and its mission to protect and tell the stories of our nation’s resources.  Activities during the week include a mock archaeological dig, exploration of the prairie, learning about how buildings and artifacts are cared for, and a play that they perform for their parents at the end of the week.

With 2016 being the NPS centennial, trailblazers this year also participated in an art workshop.  The art workshop was led by Cristine Sundquist.  Ms Sundquist holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Kansas, has produced numerous works depicting the Flint Hills and Southeast Kansas.  Her art is displayed in numerous galleries in the area, and she has led several children’s workshop.  

The funding for the workshop was provided by a Fort Scott Area Community Foundation Grant.  The grant, in the amount of 500.00, was used to pay the artist who conducted a two hour workshop for each session of the Trailblazer program.  The grant covered her expenses and provided her an honorarium.

In the workshops at Fort Scott, Ms. Sundquist instructed the youth in the use of the color wheel and the technique of matching warm colors (red, yellow, orange) and cool colors (green, blue, violet).  With that simple lesson, youth were then given a couple of hours to produce a work of art that somehow told the story of Fort Scott.  Youth were instructed to be creative and told that their art work need not look exactly like what they were looking at but rather be a representation.

Many of them used pastels to create their masterpieces, a few opted for colored construction paper to tell their stories.  Each work of art was unique, each told a different story, and each had its own style.  Many of the art projects focused on the 30 star flag on the parade ground.  Throughout the week, the youth participants had been putting up the garrison flag each morning as one of their activities; therefore they had a connection to the flag and its importance.  Other young artists featured the buildings of the fort including a colorful interpretation of the visitor center/post hospital and a rendition of the stables using construction paper.  One young lady drew a pioneer girl using many different colors, while another used the barrels of the quartermaster building for her work of art.

The artwork was displayed at a Chamber Coffee held at Fort Scott NHS on the actual 100th birthday of the National Park Service, August 25, 2016.  Some of the youth were reluctant to have their work on display, others were enthusiastic.  All of the kids seemed to enjoy the workshop; one young lady said that it was “the best day of her life”.  She then came back that it was the second best, (the first being a day she won a prize at the fair).   She really likes to do art.

The art workshop was offered as an NPS Centennial program.  It fulfills two NPS Call to Action items:  Arts Afire and Next Generation Stewards.  The staff of Fort Scott NHS thanks the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation for their support of the workshop.