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Liggett visitor center schematic design rendering

5.4.7 Arts Foundation, Mullinville, KS

M.T. Liggett Outsider Art Experience

M.T. Liggett is known for his confrontational and controversial sculptures, signs, totems, and whirligigs. Liggett's work is unique. Iconic. And abrasive.

Visitors to the area can view over 600 of his metal sculptures along a roadside in rural Kansas at any time. But shortly after his death in 2017, work began to tell the story of the artist behind the work.

M.T. Liggett roadside sculptures

In 2020, the 5.4.7 Arts Center Foundation hired FHD to design an interpretive exhibit to be housed in a newly constructed visitor center on the site of Liggett's studio.

M.T. Liggett visitor center floorplan

The building is split in two: one half with the interpretive exhibit, and the other half housing a workshop for a local artist-in-residence.

For the exhibit, we leaned on weathered steel motifs inspired by Liggett's use of materials. Laser-cut steel panels anchor the exhibit sections.

M.T. Liggett exhibit graphic layouts
M.T. Liggett museum wall elevations

Wall elevations for the gallery show the relationships of all exhibit elements.

The interpretive space is compact and needs to function well for small gatherings in addition to telling Liggett's story. So we kept the interpretation to shallow displays around the exterior of the space, with a partial context studio display in the center of the room. When the foundation needs a more open space for an event, the studio splits into two halves and can be pushed into spaces along the outer walls.

3D lidar scans of selected artwork allow placement of complex sculptures in the computer renderings as can be see in the animated walkthrough video above.

Guest curator Erika Nelson wrote the exhibit content. Nelson is also leading the preservation portion of the project, responsible for preserving his artwork for future generations.

The exhibit is currently in the fabrication phase and is scheduled to open in early fall 2021.

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