21 Mary Lee Graham Library

By Katie Philp

Mary Lee and John Graham smiling standing next to each other, John has his hand on Mary Lee’s shoulder.
Mary Lee and John Graham, ca. 2010, family photograph

The Mary Lee Graham Library was a gift of love and respect from her husband, John, for the time and talent she passionately gave to the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art building project. The Grahams, both Kansas State University graduates, returned to Manhattan after graduate studies. Mary Lee, a textiles and interior design major with a minor in art history, looked for ways to use her skills in the community. The furniture designers she studied in graduate school helped launch her professional design business and connected her to the arts community in Manhattan.

On the building committee for the Beach Museum of Art from its inception, Mary Lee resurrected the Friends of Art group with a reception that included the gift prints. It helped generate enthusiasm for the building of the art museum as well as enlarged the group committed to creating the museum. Mary Lee, in her positive, friendly yet persistent manner, joined the group of leaders working to make the museum a reality.

The naming of the library for Mary Lee recognized her efforts on the building project and the need for the museum staff to continue to learn and study. The library provides the space needed to research future exhibitions.


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Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at 25: People and Spaces by Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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