Bixler Art Barn and Vernon Filley museum postpone art gathering

Jennifer Stultz
Featured singer for a March 25 event in Pratt, Barry Ward, has agreed to come for an event rescheduled for this fall, due to coronavirus disease concerns.

Brittany Novotny, co-director of the Vernon Filley Art Museum and Dick Bixler, museum board member and Bixler Art Barn owner announced Thursday that plans for a joint open house event in Pratt have been postponed due to novel coronavirus concerns.

Representatives from more than 25 churches, museums and art galleries across the region had already accepted invitations to the Filley museum and Bixler barn for a March 25 art and music event, but concern for patrons and audience led organizers to postpone the open house.

Singer/songwriter Barry Ward was scheduled to perform as part of the open house, but Novotny said Ward has already agreed to come to Pratt in the fall for a rescheduled event. He has performed in 35 different states and three foreign countries, including on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Ward has won multiple awards, including induction into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame; Male Performer of the Year with the both the Academy of Western Artists and the International Western Music Association; and the Country Gospel Music Association. He has won CD of the Year for the last several years with the prestigious Rural Roots Music Commission.

"We want all organizations to know that they are still invited and would be welcome to come this fall, those with confirmed attendance as well as others,“ Novotny said. "This project will have a great impact for us and the community."

Novotny said the museum’s resources and capacity in addition to the Bixler Art Barn and Studio’s resources were a combination that will expand the reach of arts and education in this part of Kansas.

“The Filley museum is very grateful for the response from the public to visit both venues, and we are beyond grateful to Dick and Nancy Bixler for their work to contact and invite so many new people to our community to experience what we have to offer,” Novotny said. “But in light of the health news we feel it in the best interest of everyone involved to cancel our plans at this time, and reschedule them for fall.”

More than 4,000 visitors attend the Filley annually, coming to take part in educational tours and artist demonstrations. The new partnership with the Bixler Art Barn will give visitors the opportunity to experience further the real life of a studio artist.

Rescheduled events will be announced on the museum’s website at or at