It took a while to wrangle this crazy artistic family together. The story of the Butters family is a vivid tapestry of artistic expression, deeply rooted in a shared passion for creativity. Tom and Velda Butters, lifelong florists, have not only created beauty through their floral designs but have also nurtured a rich artistic environment for their family. Velda, who shone in the spotlight of theater, had the lead in a one-act play that won state in 1968 and was actively involved in vocal music and band during her school years. Tom, sharing a similar passion for theater and speech, contributed to this fertile artistic ground.
Velda fondly recalls the blossoming artistic inclinations of their sons, saying-I loved watching my boys’ interest grow in music, art, and theater. Being a florist, I understand the importance of being able to tell a story through art; the mechanics of the product and the story you are telling. I watched each one of them learn the mechanics of the song, the play, or the artwork and create a beautiful story. She sees the artistic genes passed down, not just in skills but in the way her children and grandchildren engage with the arts, creating new and magical narratives.
Jeff Butters, embracing the family’s artistic legacy, pursued art and education at Kearney State College, later becoming an art teacher. His family, including his wife and three daughters, share in this creative journey. His daughter Sara made a significant impact with her drawing, which sold for $44,000 at a Houston livestock show and rodeo auction. His son Kyle’s musical talents shone in the Century Singers at Texas A&M, with performances in New York City and Europe. Jeff himself was part of a touring choir in college and won the all-student art show in his senior year.
Darrin Butters’ journey from ventriloquism, magic, and theater in his youth to becoming a Disney animator is a testament to the family’s creative spirit. As Velda recalls, his dream of, as he put it, making cartoons with Walt Disney, has been a reality for 27 years. Having an acting background helped land me that job, Darrin notes, highlighting the interconnectedness of various art forms.
Julia, Darrin’s daughter, stands out as a beacon of young talent in the family. With roles in films directed by Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg, she has already established herself as a talented young actress. Her passion extends beyond acting to opera, one-act plays, and guitar, showcasing her versatility and continuing the family’s artistic tradition.
Kevin Butters, having grown up amidst the creativity of a florist’s shop, found his artistic calling early. His journey through high school and college theater led to a resurgence on stage with Crane River Theater. His family, including his wife, two daughters, Hana and another daughter, shares his passion for theater, often joining him in performances, demonstrating the familial tradition of shared artistic pursuits.
The Butters family’s story is not just one of individual accomplishments but a collective narrative of shared passion and creativity. From Velda’s early successes in theater and music to Tom’s involvement in theater and speech, from Jeff’s artistic teaching to Darrin’s animated storytelling, and from Kevin’s theatrical endeavors to Julia’s burgeoning acting career, each chapter adds depth to their rich artistic legacy. Their lives and careers, intertwined with the arts, paint a vivid picture of a family where creativity is not just a trait but a way of life, passed down with love and nurtured through generations.
Editor’s note: One of Kevin’s earliest theater experiences was a delayed entry on stage at the old Kearney Community Theater due to having been accidentally locked in a bathroom, the crew getting him out as the cast ad-libbed. The show was On Borrowed Time. I last saw him perform in Crane River Theater’s production at the World Theatre of The Odd Couple, appearing with his old roommate Bryce Jensen, and on time for every entrance. Kearney Creates want to thank Deb Beerman, Darrin Butters’ Fourth Grade teacher for keeping and sharing albums of her years at Glenwood School.