Ken Stark’s books, cartoons in the windows of Viroqua | News

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Two Viroqua exhibitions now feature works by Driftless-area writer-painter-draughtsman Ken Stark.

Through May, five story-themed picture books that Stark wrote and/or illustrated for New York publishers are on display at the McIntosh Memorial Library. They include two books that Stark wrote and illustrated. “Oh, brother!” is her true story of growing up with her brother, Phil, in the countryside. Raised and encouraged by their mother, the boys’ interest in art led to their professional careers. Stark also wrote and illustrated “Marching to Appomattox — The Footrace That End the Civil War”.

He illustrated “Orphan Train” by Verla Kay, “Growing Seasons” by the late Elsie Lee Splear and “Seeing the Elephant — A Story of the Civil War” by Pat Hughes.

The library exhibit, created by Chris, Stark’s wife/business owner, includes book awards (such as the Wisconsin Library Association), manuscript book draft, layout, sketches, and a handmade gift from De Soto students after the book talks.

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The other exhibit, now at the Vernon County Museum, includes Stark’s editorial cartoons in a “Protest!” exposure. His 1995-96 cartoons appeared in Madison and area newspapers during the protest against low-level military flying. The cartoons were also published, in addition to interviews with the Starks and others, in the UW Press book, “A Thousand Pieces of Paradise – Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley” by Lynne Heasley. This book and Stark’s books are available at the Viroqua Library and other libraries.

The museum exhibit will remain in place until at least 2023.

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