A prairie artist's work is being preserved

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Courtesy Larry Hatteberg Courtesy Larry Hatteberg
Courtesy Larry Hatteberg Courtesy Larry Hatteberg
MULLINVILLE, Kan. (KAKE) -

M.T. Liggett was a self-taught artist whose controversial artwork floods Highway 400 near Mullinville, Kansas. Liggett died two years ago, but now his art will be preserved for years to come. 

Liggett appeared on Larry Hatteberg's "Hatteberg's People" in the early 2000s, where he said, "I can make my thoughts known in a piece of art like an author does a book." 

Liggett was known by all in Mullinville, but despised by many. His hard to miss art-work is a true representation of how people made him feel. But this didn't always sit well with those around him. 

"If you make a piece of art and you've got to explain it, why have it," asked Liggett.  

But now, the Kohler Foundation from Wisconsin is going to make sure his art lives on forever.

"Well M.T. Liggett is a true Kansas treasure. It's a very fabulous site. It has something for people of all ages. Whether they are art historians or just your average pedestrian," says Terri Yoho, the Kohler Foundation's Executive Director. 

The area will now have walking trails, a new visitor center, and even an on-site artist living there and taking care of the grounds. 

Those who actually got to know Liggett say he made a lot of enemies, but he made a lot of friends, too. 

"One thing that turned m.t. Against a lot of people was the fact that nobody appreciated his art when he was alive," says Larry Hatteberg, former KAKE anchor. 

Hatteberg was named a trustee of the artwork after M.T. passed, and he says he feels honored to help Liggett's legacy continue. 

"He wasn't an easy guy to know, he was a hard guy sometimes to be around. But if he liked you and if he let you into his world for just a few minutes, it was a treat and really a historic moment," says Hatteberg.

Hatteberg says this is always what his friend, M.T., wanted for his art, "M.T. somewhere is smiling." 

"You're dead ten years and everybody forgot about you. This stuff will be here in a hundred years. So I've left a legacy. I'm going to be here," says Liggett. 

The Kohler Foundation says this project should be completed by December 2020. 

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