Homegrown to display Shocker softball star’s art
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State’s Sydney McKinney’s talent on the field is no secret. The star shortstop was the NCAA batting average leader and hits leader in 2022 en route to her second All-American honor. But recently, her talents off the field have been the ones getting recognized.
Aside from McKinney’s All-American softball career, in her spare time, she takes to the canvas.
“It’s really nice to just sit down, paint, draw and not worry about anything but what you’re doing on the canvas,” McKinney said.
More specifically, McKinney is drawn to abstract paintings. The Vibrant colors and ‘no rules concept in many of her designs is a nice contrast from the grind of being a Division I athlete, she said.
The shortstop has only been painting for a few years, but already her artwork will be going on display for hundreds to see. The popular Wichita-based restaurant Homegrown is opening a new store in Liberty, Mo. only 45 minutes from McKinney’s home town. The new store will feature McKinney’s largest piece yet.
Homegrown founder Jon Rolph said a mission of the restaurant is to keep local roots, so to find a local tie with McKinney not only to Wichita but to Libery as well, was a perfect fit.
“To have that relationship [with Sydney] that we formed in Wichita and to have that connection also up in Liberty and Kansas City is really special for us,” Rolph said. “It makes it even more authentic and more real, which is what we’re all about.”
McKinney said she would have never imagined that a hobby that she picked up in college would result in her artwork being displayed in such a popular restaurant near her hometown of Norborne, Mo.
“It meant a lot for them to ask me to do this art that is so close to my hometown. . . It’s kind of cool that I get to make something that people I know are gonna see from home,” she said. “I never thought it’d be seen by so many people.”
Rolph said he is happy to let customers in the Kansas City Metro know about McKinney’s other talent rather than softball.
“That’s what’s great about getting to know people: You find out more about who they are what they’re good at,” Rolph said. “So to get to know Syd more holistically and to know how closely aligned she is to the brand, it’s just been really fun for us.”
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