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Kansas Originals Market & Gallery is owned by the
Post Rock Opportunities Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation.
The Place to Visit
Kansas Originals Market, located at the junction of Interstate 70 and K-232 highways in central Kansas, is a showcase for the exceptional work of Kansas artists, craftsmen and food producers. Thousands of people visit Kansas Originals each year. People from 100 foreign countries on six continents have become acquainted with the art, crafts, and food of Kansans. These visitors express an appreciation for the high quality and originality of the work.
Found among the array of outstanding items are hand-carved birds by a 91 year-old, a large variety of scroll-saw items from an autistic 23 year-old; wooden replicas of planes and farm machinery and toys and kaleidoscopes all made by a life-watch pilot while he is on call. Beautiful pheasant feather ornaments and flower arrangements are created by a nurse who is suffering from Lyme Disease. Greeting cards in Braille are handcrafted with a braille-writer by a 44-year-old who has been blind since birth. Osage orange candleholders, lamps and potpourri bowls and painted wooden items are made by juveniles from one of the state.s correctional facilities. There are wooden animals hand-crafted by a retired farmer who taught himself wood carving after being disabled by a heart attack.
Artists who work in limestone create post rock benches, bird baths, sundials, carved snowmen and desk sets along with small business card holders and magnets. Other Kansas craftsmen produce fine handcrafted small wooden furniture, clocks, and shelves along with tables and chairs for children and dolls. They create wheat weavings, hand-loomed rugs and hand-stitched quilts; embroidered tea towels, hand-blown glass including vases, bowls, festive orbs, and paperweights; and stained and slumped glass.
Artists create beautiful scenes of the Kansas countryside in oil, watercolor, and pen and ink drawings. Photographers have captured the natural beauty of Kansas in their art photographs. Other artists work with sculptures in copper, brass, and iron. There are hand-carved wooden miniatures; hand-built, thrown, and raku pottery. Other items to be found include jewelry, dream catchers and items representative of Native Americans.
Value-added food products include apple cider syrup, biscuit and muffin mixes, barbecue sauces and rub, popcorn and candies, flavored vinegar, pickled vegetables, flour, jerky, canned meats, and a variety of jams and jellies.
The market is owned by the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation, a 501©3 not-for-profit corporation which was founded to provide a service to Kansas artists, craftsmen, and food producers, especially those who are over 62, disabled, minority, low-income, or women who are in business for themselves.
Kansas Originals Market opened on August 1, 1991. Operations have expanded to include stores in the Travel Center on the Turnpike east of Topeka and the Travel Center on the Turnpike east of Lawrence; the Wilson location is the headquarters. The Foundation also provides an Internet Catalog at www.kansasoriginals.com.
The Wilson location also serves as the headquarters for The Amazing 100 Miles Tourism Coalition.
Post Rock Opportunities Foundation
The Past . The Present . The Future
The mission of the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation is to provide a market for the work of Kansas artists, craftsmen and food producers, especially those who are over 62, disabled, minority, low-income, or women-in-business for themselves; and to promote tourism into the region. The idea for the Foundation was developed by a small group of people in north central Kansas. By networking together, they found a way to improve the economy and make use of all the hidden talent buried in the homes and farms of the area.
Once their goals were established, a proposal was presented to the National Committee on the Self-Development of People of the Presbyterian Church. This group sent a member of their committee to the area, where he visited shops, viewed the towns, the proposed site, and the conditions. On his evaluation and recommendation, the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation received a grant. Additional monies were borrowed to construct a 3,000 square foot building.
Kansas Originals Market, located at the junction of Interstate 70 and K-232 highways, opened on August 1, 1991. By the end of that year, there were five part-time employees and 174 members with merchandise in the Market. Artists, craftsmen, and food producers continued to join at the rate of four per week. Merchandise from members of the Foundation was beginning to fill the building at such a rapid rate, by mid-1992 it was obvious the facility was going to have to be enlarged.
With a Kansas Department of Commerce Tourism Attraction Development Grant and a loan from the Rural Electric Association, the building was nearly doubled in size. The new addition opened August 1, 1993 and included additional showroom space, offices, and a large storage room. Senator Bob Dole, Senator Nancy Kassebaum, Governor Joan Finney, and state senators, and representatives were among the officials who visited the market.
Through the years, more than 125 members of the Foundation have received recognition through the Featured Artists programs on Sunday afternoons. This series is educational and entertaining for everyone who attends, including many elderly and school children of the region.
The Post Rock Opportunities Foundation currently has three full-time and twelve part-time employees. Nearly 1400 artists, craftsmen, and food producers from across Kansas have had merchandise in the Market since it opened in 1991. Only Kansas artists, craftsmen, and food producers are eligible for membership. Approximately 450 are represented by the Foundation at any one time.
In the fourteen years since the inception of the idea, twenty-two people from six counties have served on the Board of Directors. Volunteers play a big part in the accomplishments of the Market as they create displays, order merchandise, maintain the stock room and do accounting.
The goal of the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation is to continue to work for its members by increasing the volume of traffic into Kansas Originals Market locations and increasing sales through other avenues. In 1997, a catalog brochure was published and in 1998, the Foundation went online with an Internet catalog. In addition to the current locations at Wilson, Lawrence and Topeka, the Foundation has operated stores in Kansas City, Olathe, Belle Plaine, Towanda, and Wichita.
The Post Rock Opportunities Foundation is in need of grants and donations to function properly. Because the merchandise is all made in Kansas by individuals and cottage industries, the Foundation cannot take the large commissions required to operate the business. The Foundation sincerely appreciates all the past support given by donors as well as any future consideration that will help them to continue their mission.
Post Rock Opportunities Foundation
Kansas Originals Market
Awards and Recognition:
Received Recognition from The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development
as described on the Kansas Profile Radio Program 2002
CEO received the SBA Kansas Plains Spirit Award for year 2000
The Kansas Department of Commerce Land of Kansas Company of the Year 1999
Received Penner Foundation Excellence in Retailing Award
Featured on KSN Television's Main Street Kansas
Featured in Midwest Living Magazine
Featured in Kansas! Magazine
Featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles