8 Wonders of Kansas art

An 8 Wonder of Kansas Art

Stan Herd Earthwork, Atchison

Address: 178620 274th Rd., Warnock Lake Atchison KS 66002
Website: www.stanherdarts.com/home.html

Stan Herd's Amelia Earhart Earthwork in Atchison is an 8 Wonders of Kansas Art finalist because of Stan's unusual ability to use the earth as his canvas and farm equipment as his brush.

Stan Herd was born in 1950 in Protection. He first gained attention in Kansas with his large outdoor historical murals but then became known across the nation for his field art. He has done many temporary earthworks across the nation. A permanent Stan Herd earthwork in Kansas is  found in Atchison.


From K-7 south, turn right on Patriot, then immediately left on Price. Price veers west and becomes 278th Road. Go 1/4 mile south on 278th Road, then 1/2 mile west on 274th to Warnock Lake entrance. Follow the winding road to the Earthwork platform.

Excerpts from Chris Taylor's Portrait of Courage, a book about Stan Herd's Amelia Earhart Earthwork:


In every artist's life a work comes along that defines the medium and sets a new standard. As my first perpetual Earthwork the portrait of Amelia Earhart was the right work at the right time. But my overriding concern is to do things properly and not to cut corners. The real power of the art is that it will last. June 1997



On the berm of a hill next to Warnock Lake in Atchison a 42,000 square foot image of the world's most famous aviatrix stands out of the landscape and is becoming a part of that very landscape. Made of natural materials; grasses, plants, earth and stone, the portrait is a living thing.

Amelia in bluegrass, aviatrix in stone, pilot of juniper, Earhart of the Earth; all could be appropriate titles for the one-acre image.

Stan Herd's tools for this art work included tractors, plows, lawn mowers and Weed eaters and, in creating his first permanent image, that list of tools expanded.

The consideration of every foot of that plot of land meant putting in 50 tons of stone by hand, planting 500 rug junipers, plowing, treating and planting a plot of earth that had not been turned by man in many years.

Below the surface of "Amelia" lies drainage tiles, layers of turned-in fertilizers to sweeten the soil, layers of weed-stopping material and below the face is a layer of crushed stone to make a solid bed for the cut native stone that makes up the facial features of the Earthwork.

As the years go by Herd will refine the small areas of the portrait as a painter with oils will add detail after the main image is complete.

In the Atchison project there were countless community helpers but it couldn't have happened without the passion and perseverance of Mary Van Horn to get community support and financing for the project. The main manual labor help came from Martin Grennan, Kyle Boos, Micah Van Horn and Kenneth Seever.

CONTACT: Atchison Chamber, 800.234.1854


Stan is very talented and continues to do murals, paintings, and created "Prairie Henge" on Bill Kurtis's property near Sedan. 

Visit the Stan Herd Art Gallery in Protection at the public library, Broadway and Chestnut.  Some of his paintings, photos of some field art, murals and other colorful tidbits are on display!  It's open when the library is open.  Usually Monday-Friday noon-6 p.m.  620.622.4886.