Kansas Heritage Group]

Beats In Kansas: The Beat Generation in the Heartland

Adventures: Corban LePell

by Sylvia Kleindinst

My roommate at ALL-STATE was Alice and she lived in Lincoln. She was the daughter of a French professor at the University. Later in the summer, I returned to Lincoln to visit her at home. We called Corban and he suggested we come over to his apartment. This posed a problem because Corban was a student in Alice's father's class and not doing well in French. Also he was married. We figured out a way to get around these obstacles. We told Alice's father we were going to a movie and put on our crinolines and skirts with about 5 or 6 yards of material. Corban picked us up in front of the theater in an antique car. It was small, but somehow we squeezed in with our big skirts!!

Corban's wife, Audrey, was working at a department store that evening so he could entertain us. His apartment was typical of '50's style. Mobiles, butterfly chairs, couch with colorful pillows and a HI-FI record player. We listened to music and he played his guitar and sang. I recall Alice and I were very giggly. We had to watch the time and when the movie was to end, we had to be back at the theater, so her father could pick us up. Oh, we were so exhiberated and felt as if we had a very big adventure!

In the Fall, I started college at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Since art was not a strong area in the school, I'd go to the University of Nebraska on Saturday to take classes and sometimes visit the oil painting studio to see Corban and his newest work. He had been given the assignment to create large paintings for a special music room in the student union where people could listen to HI FI records. A reception was held for the opening and unveiling of his art. They were huge pictures mae up of layers of feathery brush strokes. I have some photographs of Alice and I in the music room in front of the paintings which are on another page with articles from the newspaper about this event. I purchased a painting from Corban for $25.00 and still have it to this day. I have a picture of this work for you to see as well.

From time to time I went to lectures and classes at the University and loved to spend time in the oil painting studio. The smell of oil paint brings back old memories now. Corban wrote articles in the school paper about art and shows going on at the University. He sparked controversy and letters in reply for his ideas and odd writing style. I have copies of these articles for you to read.

Corban and Audrey left the University of Nebraska and went to Northwestern University in Chicago for a short time and later to California and he has spent his life teaching drawing at Hayward State. Our paths have never crossed again, but in a sense the brief meeting had a life long impact. The excitement about art and creation is renewed each person through contacts and experience. Each person's art is developed from their own life experiences and we use this in our creative work. The memories, colors, scenes, snatches of things may be the basis for collages or paintings. Where we come from, who we have met along the way, do make a difference.


(© 2001, Sylvia Kleindinst)

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Posted: 1 December 2008. Maintained by George Laughead. Hosted at WWW-Virtual Library @ www.vlib.us