It debuted in March of 2014. In March of 2022 it is still there, decorating the walls of a Salina senior living facility. The “Jennison Collection” is on public display in the lobby area of the main tower at Presbyterian Manor in Salina.
According to the facility, from its beginnings in the 1970’s the Smoky Hill River Festival has had many return visitors. Perhaps none of those guests, however, has been as dedicated as Ken Jennison. The Salina Presbyterian Manor resident never missed the festival from its early days all the way up to more recent renditions, and he never left without a piece of art.
“I wanted to do all I could, from the very beginning, to support local and regional artists,” Jennison said. “Before I knew it, my collection was quite expansive.”
In fact, the artwork Jennison and his late wife, June, purchased covered up nearly all the wall space at their home. Once they made the move to Presbyterian Manor, the couple donated their entire collection, which now can be seen throughout the hallways of the community.
“At some point you have to downsize,” he said. “I still get to see all the beautiful artwork, but now it’s available for others to enjoy as well. It’s been given new life.”
Jennison said he first attended the festival because his daughter, Becky, was a storyteller for the children’s area. Before long, however, it was the art that kept him coming back.’
“I guess every couple has traditions,” he said. “One of ours was buying the art. Now those memories live on here at Salina Presbyterian Manor.”
When the “Jennison Collection” went on public display in 2014 the manor agreed to keep the collection growing and complete by acquiring the signature Festival Print each year.
Ken Jennison is the Public Service Director for the Meridian Media Group of radio stations. He first started working at KSAL in 1949.
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Photo courtesy Salina Presbyterian Manor