Friday, 5Feb10, I attended the “Friends of the Carnegie” art exhibition opening at The Carnegie Arts Center of Leavenworth, Kansas. This was an exhibition of art created or collected by benefactors of the CAC, including the two founding co-directors, Mary Ellen Maxwell and Rebeca Johnson. Mary Ellen is my mother, and when they founded the Leavenworth Area Arts Center (as it was first known, even for a while after they secured the Carnegie building) I was a child of about eleven or twelve. My mother spent long days working at the CAC, often coming home late at night, and I spent a lot of time there with her. The CAC was like a second home to me during those years, and I often took classes or volunteered as a summer camp counselor there, but most often spent time there drawing or modeling clay or writing while my mother worked on either the business of the center or her own artwork. I have a lot of fond memories of the place, and my sister even got married there. Ma retired from there a while back and I don’t get out there much anymore, but it’s always nice when I do and this time was no exception.
For starters I was hungry when I got there, and was happy that the opening was blessed with a fine array of food. There was also alcohol to be had, but I’ve made an oath not to recreationally drink until I am comfortably below 200lbs, so I stuck to the punch. I don’t remember the caterer’s name, but she was very nice and the food was good. When I walked in the first person I spotted was my dad, and he took me on over because he knew I hadn’t had dinner, and we talked about books for a bit while I took advantage of the spread.
Ma collects Oaxacan Wood Carvings, and here is one of here larger ones. She has it laid out on a mat she made I think for a previous show she put on. She’s got a bunch of glass beads strewn on there for effect. Of course Ma has a bunch of glass beads, and in a variety of colors. That’s just the sort of person she is. One day I needed surgical masks for something I was doing (I don’t remember what), and in she goes into her office and comes out with some. You never know what’s in her supply reserve, honestly she has just about anything you’d need for anything. Sometimes we go to hardware stores or office supply stores and wander around together, because I have inherited her love of supplies.
These are normally in my folks’ bed room. The sign said “DO NOT TOUCH”, but the drawers I think are utilized as jewelry organizers when not on display in a gallery. The full-size photographs can be viewed by clicking on them, by the way. Also, I’m going to do the centered picture and text description thing for a bit here, so hang on…
I do know what this is, however. Well, not exactly. This is something called found art, and this particular piece came from the old Great Western Manufacturing Company. It probably wouldn’t be as cool if we knew exactly what it was…
Susan Nelson, long time friend of the family and an art teacher at the University of Saint Mary made this tea-pot. Susan is a whiz at this sort of thing, and last year she helped me to create some deity figures for my House Shrine Project.
This is Toulouse Carnegie, add him on Facebook to get updates on upcoming classes, events and exhibitions at the Carnegie Arts Center.
This is a newspaper clipping describing Tatsuo Sato, a former President of the Heart of America Japan-America Society. A couple pieces of his work were in this exhibition because they were in the personal collection of one of the benefactors participating in this show. I mention it here because I am a member of this fine organization!
This large painting hanging in the main hall of the CAC wasn’t part of the exhibit (it’s a permanent fixture) but I include it because it has an interesting history. This painting used to hang in the bar in the old Cody Motel, which was razed a while back to make room for some retirement condos. It was a typical Old West saloon painting, being both technically “culture” as a reproduction of an actual work of fine art, and also “nude girl for drunk dudes to look at”. The story goes that Carrie Nation was coming through Leavenworth during the Prohibition, and the saloon owner met her at the train station and delivered some convincing plea to her to spare it as fine art, to which she consented. This painting has caused some patrons of the CAC to be scandalized in recent times as well, which I find both amusing and depressing at the same time.
And finally, a snowman. I saw this fellow on the roof level of the south parking garage at Johnson County Community College today when I stopped by this afternoon on an errand to meet with my friend and former professor Mrs. C. I include him here because I think he’s neat, and seeing him at the end of the afternoon took some of the edge off that a little misadventure on the turnpike this morning had put on.