Won’t you join us this coming Friday evening, 6:00-8:00 p.m., June 1, 2018, for the Opening Reception and announcement of awards on artCentral’s beautiful lawn? Everyone is welcome! For a gourmet picnic dinner your donation of five dollars will be appreciated. If I can keep my courage up and my voice steady, my artist husband David and I, accompanied by his guitar, will have a couple or three celebratory tunes to share with you.
All the artworks in this exhibition are heartfelt expressions created by artCentral member artists—artists who are practicing and mastering the art of loving, living and leaving.
Artists love. They make art for love—their love of art and their love of creating.
Artists live. They live to find and claim and cherish the precious moments and hours and days they need to listen to their souls and allow inspiration to flow in and inform their art-making.
Artists leave. While they’re here and after they pass over, with each of their creations artists leave our world better, more truthful and more beautiful for all of us.
Karen Brust, artCentral member artist and recipient of the 2016 Membership Exhibition Underwriter Award, left our company to pass over in early May. She was an exceptional artist in her loving and her living and her leave-taking. The beauty and inspiration of her colorful paintings linger still on our walls and in our hearts.
Soon after Karen’s departure, my younger brother and only sibling, Dr. David Stanford Baker, II, passed from us on the 14th of May in Charlotte, North Carolina. David, too, was an artist—a sculptor who chose to spend his professional life as a micro-surgeon working to rebuild hands with the skills of a dedicated, compassionate and well-trained artist.
Like many an artist, David early realized his life’s calling. As one childhood friend posted on facebook: “Even at Jefferson Elementary [Little Rock, Arkansas] he set the example for how we ought to behave. Once a boy seriously lacerated his head on a swing set during recess. David immediately took off his shirt and wrapped our playmate’s head to stop the bleeding, while the rest of us did nothing useful or ran for the teachers.” My little brother, while still that very small boy, stood before our church congregation and declared his intention to be a medical missionary.
Hearing the news of David’s death, one of his lifelong friends wrote to me, "I will never in my lifetime know a finer boy or man than your sweet brother always was—he was simply the best of the best." As the minister declared at David’s celebration of life, he’s “actually been living life eternal for quite a long time.”
David devoted himself to family and community life. He was at his best as a loving husband and father. He led scout trips and family adventures to share his love of nature and the renewal that comes with time outside. He helped with homework and art projects and read bedtime stories, enthusiastic and ready to model the discipline needed to achieve excellence. He trained his golden retrievers with a gentle hand and was rewarded with their faithful companionship. At Myers Park United Methodist in Charlotte, his church home for forty years, David found comfort and insight and the opportunity to serve in myriad ways including on medical missions to third world countries.
After retiring in 2014, David pursued his lifelong commitment to social justice, practicing his Eagle Scout's habit of looking for how he could leave a place better than he found it. He participated in Dismantling Racism seminars and volunteered to benefit children as a Guardian ad Litem and reading buddy. He carried his well-organized tool kit to build homes, communities and hope with Habitat for Humanity.
My brother David showed up for family and friends with strong arms and perpetual optimism. His support for the people he loved never wavered. He was exceedingly happy for my husband David’s and my finding each other in love and art and our celebrating our first anniversary of wedded bliss. He was proud of my work as Executive Director-Curator of artCentral, and yet he brashly chided me to make more time for the creation of my own art.
In the last months of his life, David and I wrote emails back and forth under the subject line: ART MENDS. He asked for prints of my art he found particularly inspiring. I sent them. To know my art surrounded him with his last breaths is a blessing.
In his too brief lifetime among us, my brother David set the curve for every artist who aspires to leave a creative life well-lived. Dr. David Stanford Baker II mastered the art of loving, living and leaving. Àshe!
Registration forms are available in Carthage at artCentral, Carthage Public Library, Cherry’s, The Deli, KOKA Gallery and The Palms. In Joplin you’ll find registration forms at Spiva Center for the Arts, Cleo’s Picture Framing and Design and Crackpot Pottery and Art Studio. You can also go online and download the registration forms available on artCentral’s website: http://www.artcentralcarthage.org/artcamp-2018.html.
Our community’s support is awesome for artCentral’s eighteenth summer artCamp! At a recent awards ceremony, Jackie Boyer, president of artCentral’s Board of Directors, and I were honored to receive a grant of $2,500.00 given for artCamp by the Carthage Community Foundation from the Marsh Family Foundation Fund. artCentral’s Board of Directors is deeply appreciative to the Carthage Community Foundation for this generous support which will be used toward scholarships for tuition for children needing financial assistance; camp preparations and operations; classroom equipment: class materials and supplies; refreshments; daily overseeing and support by artCamp staff; and stipends for teachers.
Teachers selected as artCamp instructors are either recognized working artists, experts in their media, or public and private school teachers having professional credentials. Many times they are both. The well-balanced artCamp curriculum is selected from unique class proposals submitted by the individual staff teachers. I’m delighted to introduce you to artCentral’s amazing staff of 2018 artCamp teachers!
ALEXANDRA BURNSIDE – Alexandra grew up in El Paso, Texas. She loves her musical husband, cats and playing with clay! She teaches elementary art at Fairview Elementary and loves making art with kids and watching their creative minds at work. For Alexandra, drawing and doodling are fun and relaxing.
APRIL DAVIS-BRUNNER – Well known in and around Carthage as an accomplished painter and experienced teacher in oil and acrylic, April exhibits and teaches frequently throughout southwest Missouri. She is one of the seven artists contributing to the mural on artCentral’s Great Wall.
SANDRA CONRAD – Sandra achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts on a full merit scholarship at Missouri Southern State University. Her paintings were featured in “Winged Women”, a solo artCentral exhibition. She’s a past president of Joplin Regional Artists Coalition and a member of artCentral. She lives with her family in Neosho.
TERI Y. DIGGS – Teri holds a BS in Graphic Design. Her original design was the official art for our 2017 Maple Leaf Festival. Teri works as a Mark Twain Elementary School tutor and teaches art classes and parties for kids and adults in her home studio. She lives in Carthage with her husband, Craig, and their son, Jasper.
CHRIS GREGORY – Chris, owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Missouri, is a world-respected, in-demand farrier, “the one every horseman wishes he could get”. Chris holds several academic degrees and travels the globe teaching the art of hoof-care. Thousands of practitioners and educators use his textbook.
KAHLIE JONES – Kahlie attends Missouri Southern State University and enjoys crafting and making art in her free time. She was first an artCamper then an artCamp aide at artCentral. This will be Kahlie’s fourth year as an artCamp instructor. She loves giving artCampers the tools and the techniques to create.
TOM JONES – Tom is an accomplished and prolific artist in many media and holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Art Education. He’s won several state and national awards for his cartoons and has instructed at many artCamps. Tom is well known for his watercolors of snowmen among Carthage landmarks.
JANE McCAULLEY – Jane taught elementary art for thirty-five years in Indiana before moving with her husband to Missouri nine years ago. She holds Bachelor and Masters degrees from Ball State University. Currently she teaches classes in glass art at Spiva, in her home studio and at artCentral.
SARAH SERIO – A native of Neosho, Sarah is a professional artist/printmaker and returning artCamp teacher who enjoys teaching kids to be creative thinkers. Sarah’s prints are shown regionally and exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. She is president of the Neosho Arts Council Board of Directors.
ALICE LYNN GREENWOOD-MATHÉ – I’m the artCamp Director, an artist and Executive Director-Curator of artCentral. I LOVE artCentral and artCamp! With my artist husband, David, I like to travel, garden and share a big, old house filled with our art and furry and feathered companions. I’m teaching French to our puppies. artCamp is coming! I’m super excited!
My friend and a member of artCentral’s Board of Directors, Gail White, has a painting of a white lily blossom. She sent me a text with the image just the other day. Her message read, “I purchased this treasure, painted by Karen Brust, at last year’s Annual Membership Exhibition!”
I remember the day Karen Brust brought her “Healing in Bloom” white lily to Hyde House. She was jubilant to be delivering a new work from her easel.
Her artist statement sounds like a resurrection declaration. “Recovering from surgery, I looked forward to sitting at my easel to paint and find solace from my struggles. I expected to pick up where I left off with my brushes and pigments, filling one canvas and another, creating masterpieces I’d been envisioning. My upper and lower body, as well as my limited stamina, presented different agendas. This painting is the result of many short painting sessions needed to regain control of my brushes combined with my desire to win the battle. Painting this Lily was good for the heart and confidence of this artist.”
The morning of Karen’s “Healing in Bloom” delivery, as we’d so often done before, we paused in our fast forward day and took time to enjoy one of our artist-to-artist chats. Karen wanted to tell me about her “next-up” painting waiting to be started.
Artists, like Karen, make excellent friends! We are kindred-spirits. Our conversations flow easily. We can talk about our art-driven passions anytime and anywhere, every chance we get. I knew for sure Karen was this kind of artist friend for me the first time we stood dripping wet in the Y locker room after our swims—talking about art and art and more art and then on to families and grandchildren and how we’re doing our best to take care of our bodies.
My artist friend, Karen Sue Brust (Collins), 68, of Carthage, Missouri, passed away on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Her family and friends surrounded and comforted her during her brief hospital stay. As throughout their marriage, her husband of twenty years, Terry Brust, stood by her and supported her with great love and commitment.
The surprise and shock of losing Karen so unexpectedly, has left many of us disbelieving that we won’t see her pretty face again where we saw her last. When I go to the pool today, I’ll instinctively look for Karen and our next talk. I’ll find her place empty. Only time can soften the ache of her absence. She leaves a space no one else can fill. Her family’s beautiful tribute says this all so well:
Karen was a highly talented, creative and beautiful artist in every sense of the word and in all aspects of her life—wife, mother, grandmother, friend, daughter, aunt, sister, businesswoman, seamstress, financial planner and painter. She brought an indescribable kindness and magic to everything she touched and created. This is especially true for the joy, fun and creativity she brought into the lives of her seven grandchildren whom she loved with all of her being.
Karen was born on August 14, 1949, in Joplin, Missouri. She graduated from Carthage High School in 1967. Her daughter, Kelly Hunter, was born in 1968. Karen married Terry Brust on November 28, 1997. They were blessed with a large and loving blended family.
Karen believed that with dedication, sacrifice and hard work we can all achieve our dreams, even when they seem impossibly out of reach. She had a diverse and successful business and philanthropic career. Her businesswoman/artist friend, Linda Teeter, remembers, “I knew Karen when we were two women out to break the glass ceiling in two-piece business suits and clicking high heels. Karen always acted like a lady. But don't think she couldn't hold her own. Karen was a New York Life agent. We were among the first women with agencies.”
Karen was a member of the National Association of Female Executives; the National Association of Life Underwriters; and the Million Dollar Roundtable. She was longtime member of Soroptimist International and a supporter of Camp Soroptimist.
After years of service to others, Karen achieved her ultimate dream of being a painter—creating and sharing her vision and working with other artists at the Koka Gallery, artCentral Carthage, Spiva Center for the Arts, the Carthage Art Walk and other artistic venues. In 2015, Karen received the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation Underwriter Award at the artCentral Annual Membership Exhibition.
Like her ethereal white lily, Karen’s beautiful spirit lives on at artCentral and in her art and the hearts of so, so many. I am thankful for the enlightened joys she gave to my life. My pretty, talented artist friend, Karen, is remembered with great love and admiration.
These magical artistic feats are richly, wonderfully replete with secrets—secrets of inspiration and technique. Often these secrets are hidden away—turned or brushed or woven or layered into the finished whole. Sometimes these secrets are up front and obvious. Sometimes these secrets lie dormant, only to be revealed over time.
The secrets of artCentral, our vibrant non-profit, creative arts community, have been a long time in the making and the keeping and the sharing.
Way back in 1985, Sandy Higgins saw magic-in-the-making when she first happened upon a rag-tag consortium of emerging artists in a cavernous old Carthage emptied-out store. Lowell Davis, Jerry Ellis, Larry Glaze, Bill Snow and Bob Tommey (artists we recognize today as regional “greats”) were happily ensconced inside, rapturously making their art and plying their secrets into supernatural feats, while they were hidden away, beyond the public’s view.
Sandy decided, “These magic makers need to be seen, their creations displayed.” She passionately believed she was the one to help this happen. She did. Voilà! Sandy’s vision was born as C.A.S.T.—Carthage Arts Support Team—located first on Central Avenue before moving to the Geranium House at Red Oak II and finally becoming artCentral at home in our beautiful, historic Hyde House on the hill.
Every day, whether working at Hyde House or at home in Paradise, I live in a world of art-filled supernatural feats and secrets of wonderment. Upstairs in artCentral’s Boardroom Boutique, Jerry Ellis’s large watercolor, “Geranium House” is proudly on display, while the terrific hand-rubbed collages and prints of Josie Mai continue on exhibition in all of Hyde House’s galleries through May 20th.
Downstairs at home in Paradise, the magically-colorfully-whimsically painted, cool cat “Lawrence”, by artCentral artist Tyla Raredon, resonates vibrantly with the stained glass windows and the global collection of artful feats and secrets on the tall walls of our spacious salon. While several works come to us from afar—a quilted faux camel bust from India (to be used in this autumn’s “Art of Quilting” exhibition) and a landscape scroll with boaters painted in China over fifty years ago by Edward Lee before his East to West immigration—we locally sourced Tyla’s dear “Lawrence” this time last year at artCentral’s Annual Membership Exhibition.
Love-at-first sight was our instant response to “Lawrence”, since he stands proudly posturing and erect with his secrets hidden behind his no-nonsense magician’s gaze, just like our ancient white cat Ding. “Lawrence’s” purchase transaction came with a bonus. As though under a spell, Tyla dedicated and donated her artist proceeds from our check to the Spare Cat Rescue program here in Carthage. (Cool cats and cool artists can be natural philanthropists spreading magic all around them!)
Oh, my! That old cliché rings so true once again, “What goes around comes around,” or as Joni Mitchell sings, “And the seasons they go round and round, the painted ponies [and cats] go up and down” especially in our community of fine artists.
Lately David and I have been talking a lot about this, for artCentral’s 2018 Annual Membership Exhibition, opening June 1st, is coming back around in just three weeks. The call for artist entries is out!
All you artists of artCentral, for all the details visithttp://www.artcentralcarthage.org/2018-annual-membership-exhibition-middot-artist-submission-information.html. Bring us your best! The Hyde House walls will be ready to celebrate your talents!
Once again McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation is providing the generous underwriting that makes this collective supernatural feat an exciting reality. Cash awards will go to works of excellence selected by our two celebrity jurors. Juror Elizabeth Simmons is the innovative executive director of McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation that makes so much good go round and round in the arts as well as health care throughout this region. Juror Andy Thomas, well everyone knows he’s our magic-making local artistic treasure who certainly knows his way around a set of brushes and a palette laden with oils. Besides living right up the street from artCentral, he’s painted a few famous paintings of our Presidents and hundreds of other memorable works, too!
Both our jurors are très art savvy! Lucky me, I get to be the one who holds the secrets of their selections until their revealing at the Annual Picnic on artCentral’s beautiful lawn, Friday, June 1, 2018, 6:00-8:00 pm. Dinner is yours for a five dollar donation.. Everyone is invited to join in the magic and the merriment as we feast and celebrate the supernatural feats and resplendent secrets of artCentral’s amazing artists!
I tidy the kitchen, give Lasyrenn her training walk and run her a few times through her agility course—over and under bamboo hurdles and down the hay bale and barrel tunnels—then take my place at my studio computer and look at my to-do list.
Write Art Notes, text Bev to check facts. Finish graphics for Membership Exhibition postcards and posters, purchase stamps for invitation mailing. Update mailing labels, ask Lora Waring to generate a new set. Swim laps. Play date for Lasyrenn (with her sister, Roxi). Prep for gallery hours. Set up for Josie Mai’s collage workshop.
“Laundry Can Wait!” is my mantra as I work from one task to the next until time to hug David when he comes home.
Home. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the arts of home and hearth and how we’re celebrating them this year at artCentral. Josie Mai’s spring EAT ART exhibition, currently at Hyde House, is all about the pleasures of cooking. This autumn’s THE ART OF QUILTING showcases the art of stitching. (Visit www.artcentralcarthage.org/the-art-of-quilting.html to submit an entry.)
Josie makes food-centric art because she loves food. What inspires quilters to do what they do hour after hour—thread to needle and needle to fabric again and again? I ask quilters Jinny Hopp and Ruth Potter to share their quilting stories.
Jinny: “Quilters stitch quilts for the sheer joy of combining color and shapes in a unique creation, to communicate emotion and to honor loved ones. Though they seldom call themselves artists, quilters are artists—fiber artists.
My maternal grandmother and my mother were quilters. They both had a very fine, even stitch to embellish their quilts. They both taught me the sewing skills needed for quilt making. My mother passed on to me several bins of quilt fabric when she quit quilting.
I don't often hand quilt, but I do a lot of designing and machine sewing of quilts. Last year, using Mom's fabric, I made twenty quilts for cancer patients in memory of my sister who died from pancreatic cancer. Vicki Elliff takes quilts to the KU Medical center every Christmas in memory of her son who died from cancer. We share love with people in the hospital cancer unit through the quilts we create. Quilts are about love.”
Ruth: “Both of my Grandmothers quilted. My Mother never did. I was fifty before I started going to Quilt Guild Meetings just to hear the speakers. One day the speaker, Margaret Miller, said, “With my technique seams don't have to meet.” Her book describes her approach as “strips that sizzle”. I thought, “I can do this!”
I signed up for Margaret’s next day class. I don't know how many quilts I made using that technique. Everyone got one for Christmas for several years. Then I discovered attic window quilts showing scenes outside. Oh my! Everyone got quilts again. We were living in Washington State at that time, and each April we'd come back to Carthage to celebrate my mother's birthday and Mother's Day. On our way we'd attend the International Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky. I got to thinking about my bucket list and mused, if I could only make a quilt that would be accepted, I would be thrilled. After a few years I made and submitted a quilt. My quilt was accepted.
By then we'd moved to Texas. I wondered if my quilt might be accepted in the International Quilt Show in Houston. I sent in my entry. My quilt was accepted! Well, now the bug had bitten me, and I've been accepted in many shows, even Nancy Zieman's PBS show in Madison, Wisconsin.
The quilt I am showing at Art Central was thirty years in the making. I worked on it for seven years until my hands gave out. A Mennonite lady finished my thirty-year quilt. It's my last hand-quilted quilt. I've loved my hobby.”
David and I have loved this full and happy day in Paradise. The puppy is safely tucked away in her kennel. Chiquita, her companion, sleeps beside our bed. Ding’s curled up on top. We’ll snuggle now beneath our paw-printed spread and a couple of family heirloom quilts. The laundry is still waiting!
Straightening up our own kitchen after our weekend morning coffee, David calls to me up the back stairs, “We don’t want to do this!” “Oh, yes! We do!” I call back down. “I’ve never known you to be a wimp!” Silence. Long pause.
David calls back up, “I guess we’re going. Where’s Chiquita’s poncho?” I call back down, “In Ding’s cat food cabinet. I’ll be ready in five minutes.”
Twenty minutes later with puppies, treats, toys and tethers gathered, vibing on pumped up resolve and determined to not miss our weekly walk-about-outing, we shut the door behind us. Stepping out into April’s shivering twenty-nine degrees of an unpredicted blowing spring snow, we find the patio, gardens and Lasyrenn’s agility course are serenely blanketed in white.
We’ve made plans with our friends Kerry and Bev to meet up for a pancake breakfast at our much loved Hwy 59 Café in Diamond, Missouri, and we’ve decided not to disappoint them or us or the puppies. Loading into Van (Gogh) we go south.
Our meet up is predictably happy and fun. Bev and Kerry catch us up on their recent projects. She’s helped successfully launch the Master Gardeners’ 2018 seed library. He’s been out with the Missouri Stream Team testing water quality in Center Creek. We agree we want to paddle our kayaks there together. Since they’re enthusiastic artCentral members, we give them all our arty news. Over extra cups of coffee, we sing them a wee duet from those we’re working up for our Annual Membership exhibition and picnic.
Parting with hugs and handshakes, Kerry and Bev head home as David and I carry on to George Washington Carver National Monument. On our walk this morning we see new wild flowers emerging in spite of the chill. David regrets not bringing his sketchbook. The weather’s become totally inconsequential.
I grew up with a weather maxim handed down by my Arkansas hillbilly ancestors: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a day or two. Change is sure to come.” Seems quick change is the theme of Missouri weather, too, especially in this fickle spring. One day the hastas are emerging and unfurling while guys walk into the Post Office in flip-flops and shorts. The next we’re dealing with the prospect of another freeze that has us frantically covering up all our tender plants we want to save.
Perhaps, now we’ve reached a week when spring’s ready to hold steady and the only dramatic change we’re facing is swapping the contents of our closets from our winter to our summer wardrobes. Today I’m wondering what’s weather-appropriate to wear for my lunch time meeting with my book club. Will the temps be up or down? Shall I dress in layers? Throw on a coat?
My wardrobe concerns are truly petty compared to those faced by the characters dealing with deprivation and harsh weather in “Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles, the book I’m preparing to review for my book club discussion in May. Knowing I was looking for a provocative read, David pitched the possibility of this historical novel set in southeastern Missouri during the Civil War. Since he loves to read as much as I do and our literary tastes, like our artistic tastes, are complimentary, I followed his advice. I’m glad.
Only a third of the way through “Enemy Women”, already I’ve decided this is a book to be added to our artCentral library in the section dedicated to local and Missouri writers. Author Paulette Jiles knows well where we live. She was born in the heart of the Ozarks in Salem, Missouri, population 4,950 in 2010, the county seat of Dent County in the midst of the Mark Twain National Forest. Raised in small towns in both south and central Missouri, she graduated from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
In “Enemy Women” the author introduces a quilt motif that’s capturing my attention, for these days quilts are frequently on my mind: in the colorful paper scraps used by Josie Mai as she pieces together her hand-rubbed collages, in the family heirlooms David and I use to wrap and transport art from venue to venue and in the call for entries going out for THE ART OF QUILTING, the juried exhibition to be shown at artCentral this coming October and November.
Unmistakably spring’s snow, seeds, streams and collages are steadily carrying and flowing us forward toward the exquisite quilts of artCentral’s autumn.
According to folklore traditions, the four clover leaves represent different attributes: hope, faith, love and luck. The Druids carried four-leaf clovers as Celtic charms. I have a few clovers I’ve found and plucked over the years and pressed between the pages of random books. When I open a dusty volume from our bookshelves, if I unexpectedly discover an old clover, I instantly think, “Oh, good! Luck is on the way!” With childlike anticipation, I wait to see in what manifestation my luck will appear. The arrival always delights me.
Lots of luck arrives recently as I answer the phone, “Good morning, artCentral. This is Alice Lynn. How may I help you?” The pleasant voice of a gentleman caller inquires, “Do you teach blacksmithing classes? We’ve just returned from Branson,” he explains, “My stepson was intrigued with the working blacksmith we saw there.”
I confess, “We’ve taught many innovative classes at artCentral’s summer artCamp for kids, but blacksmithing has never been a part of our curriculum.” As consolation I offer, “Please give me your name and number. I’ll call you if we come up with a blacksmithing class for this July’s artCamp.” To my many, many phone contacts I add this stepdad’s phone number captioned as “Blacksmithing Class Request”.
When my husband, David, comes home from work, we talk enthusiastically about this intriguing new idea—the art of blacksmithing to be explored, the lessons to be learned and the skills to gained by artCentral’s young campers. We ponder and discuss the challenges of finding an instructor and getting the approval of my board of directors and the funds to cover the costs. I put this class possibility on my ponder-further-later list to be intentionally, ritualistically considered.
David and I love the rituals that sustain and animate the balance of our beautiful, shared life. We begin every morning and end each evening moving through our simple practices. We speak and audio record our intentions for our day, then we ring our Tibetan singing bowl, release our intentions and send them on their way.
We’re repeatedly discovering in this first year of marriage that when we ponder, talk positively with confidence and intend good things we always get Lucky! Lucky! Lucky! From our spoken and shared intentions beautiful, exciting manifestations happen, like going to buy chicken feed and seeing a notice on the feed store door that leads us to our Australian Shepherd puppy, Lasyrenn (“la-se-wren”, the siren).
Now we have brand new rituals we share with Lasyrenn and her six-year old companion, Chiquita, our Wheaten Terrier Poodle. Having wished for, talked about and intended a nice place to walk our girls, early on a weekend morning, we pile into our white van, affectionately named “Van-Gogh”. Equipped with toys and tethers we make a pilgrimage south to the George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri.
Before making our weekly “walk-about” on the trails through the park, we stop for a hearty breakfast at the Hwy 59 Cafe where we always order and split the Full Bull Rider complete with two giant, plate-sized pancakes, two sausage patties with two eggs easy-over, shredded hash browns made extra crispy plus a side of biscuits and gravy. The servings are not only generous and pocket-happy, the wait and kitchen staffs are always so friendly I feel I’m getting a full meal of déjà vous southern hospitality like what’s reliably served up in my home state of Arkansas.
On our most recent Hwy 59 Cafe and walk-about outing, we get really, really lucky, lucky, lucky! We should have seen this coming! We’d been given all the signs: the call from the “Blacksmithing Class Requested” step-dad, the cowboy motif of 59’s dining room and the horseshoes hung over their door.
This weekend morning we’re just starting out from Carthage, both puppies riding shotgun between us, when I see a horse trailer passing us and start calling to David, “Remember that number on the side!.” He does remember and repeats the digits for me to dial. I do! Excitedly I tell the nice man that answers, “You just passed us on the freeway! Will you come teach a blacksmithing class for kids at artCentral’s summer artCamp?”
Chris Gregory, owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School outside Lamar, Missouri, explains he’s not in that trailer’s pickup truck. Those are some of his students driving to Oklahoma to test for their official certifications. He’s off somewhere teaching wanna-be-farriers, and “yes” he’ll bring anvils and a forge and teach an artCamp class on Wednesday, July 11th for seven students, ages 12-14. Those seven artCampers are going to be Lucky! Lucky! Lucky! to make real horseshoes to carry home and hang over their doors!
artcentral all year through. Especially in this full-on-getting-ready springtime, when nature is bursting into new life around us, artCentral is vibrantly blooming, too—making plans for our magical artCamp, July 9-20, and a whole bunch more.
Our board of directors is in the midst of saying “good-bye” to two long-serving artist members: Helen Kunze and Brenda Sageng, both gifted painters. Each has made significant contributions to artCentral’s growth and vitality. With tremendous appreciation we wish them well, as we send them on to their art-full adventures ahead.
New to our board are two practicing artists bringing individual business expertise along with their artistic orientations. Both are professional fine arts photographers.
You’ve probably seen Jane Ballard’s striking images on exhibit in Photo Spiva. She’s currently collaborating with me as we put together, COLORS of AUTUMN, the August-September exhibition at artCentral featuring the works of the Four State Photography Enthusiasts. Jane and her husband, Bobby, own The Country Caboose Wedding Chapel and Railroad Museum on Prosperity Road in Joplin, where you can indulge your love of trains plus say marriage vows, if getting hitched is on your agenda. We’re delighted to have Jane “coming on board” with us!
Doug Osborn, a native Carthaginian, is taking his board seat, too. Working with Doug on our Carthage Art Walk committee has been a fascinating pleasure. He’s definitely a can-do kind of guy, whether lining up bands for the Art Walk season or serving up his mom’s mouth-watering cookies on Art Walk nights. After many years in industrial background, Doug’s encore career as a massage therapist finds him as the owner and a practitioner at The Palms Massage and Day Spa on the historic Carthage square. You’ll see lovely pieces of his stunning photography here. Welcome Doug!
Making magic with artCentral’s board of directors is one of the best perks of my job as director-curator. Their passions for art and artCentral and their hard-working dedication keep me inspired. I send out my heartfelt “thank you” to Jackie Boyer, president; Pat Goff, treasurer; Betsy Flanigan, secretary; Lonnie Heckmaster; Lee Pound; Jane Van Den Berg; and Gail White. You are simply the best as we do our dance together especially in this spring season of hyper-creating! You keep my heels and my keyboard clicking every day as I flow through our to-do list!
With the layout, copy and printing all done, the first quarter newsletter has gone out to members’ mailboxes and is available for pick up in area venues. To great acclaim, our second show of the season, Josie Mai’s EAT ART exhibition is on the walls of Hyde House. Registrations are coming in for Josie’s Collage Workshop, $15, Saturday, April 14, 10:30-12, and her Cooking Class and Meal, $40, Saturday, May 12 at 12 noon. Spaces are limited, so make your reservation today at (417) 358-4404 or email@example.com.
Plans for 2018 Carthage Art Walks are ramping up to begin with “Seasons of the Courthouse”, Friday, April 27.
Meanwhile I’m vigorously keyboard tap, tap, tapping and reaching out to our area supporters as I write grants requesting donated funds for artCentral’s eighteenth artCamp. This magical two weeks encourages youth, ages 8-14, in the exploration of creative ideas; in experimentation with a variety of media and materials; and in experiencing the joy of self-expression in a safe, supportive environment free of criticism. While artCamp exposes students to principals and methodologies of fine art modalities, the atmosphere is one of openness, creative possibility and the magic of fun, fun, fun.
This summer’s artCamp will be about finding magic in the Legends of artCentral like that of “The Little People” who reportedly have come from down-under. They’re said to live in the well house behind Hyde House and come out at night to play croquet and walk their magical songline on the backyard lawn. They’ll make excellent subjects for young creative imaginations playing in all kinds of media!
What medium of magic is David carrying? Fresh from the heart and home of our friend, Lora, in one hand he brings forth a potted orchid, the stem gracefully curved with a plethora of alabaster blooms—in the other a strand of tiny, delicate Moroccan lights. Both will surely add to the magic already vibrating in our old house!
turned out to be gifted in their own culinary endeavors and have spouses who are the same.
These days I live with a celebrity chef—my husband, David. At least he’s a celebrity to me. He’s our personal chef, as well. When our conversations veer from art and family and fashion, they always settle on food and choosing what we’ll enjoy for future meals. When those meal times arrive, watching David in the kitchen is like seeing the performance of a fancy dancer.
Thankfully we both adore veggies. My current favorites are David’s kale sautéed to crispy and his caramelized onions. We especially love pairing our various homegrown veggies with a bit of fish or a cheesy omelet made with eggs laid by our four fine hens.
David’s a cookie monster, and if I don’t exercise caution I can become one, too. I have a weakness for his iron skillet fried sweet potatoes and whole wheat tortilla chips. Under my influence he’s grown to appreciate the fine indulgence known as Nutella on flaky croissants.
Over the years David’s worked in a lot of kitchens and has pretty much gotten rave reviews everywhere he’s been from San Diego to northwest Arkansas to Kansas City to Joplin. Perhaps the title of celebrity chef is a bit of a stretch, unless you count his cooking stint as chef to the big brass when he was shipboard during his Navy service sailing on the high seas around the globe.
Cooking exclusively now in our home we call Paradise, David always gets five stars from me for our breakfasts in bed carried upstairs on trays and the work lunches he packs for each us and our winter dinners before the fire or now on the front porch as spring beckons us outdoors. David’s thoughtful, artful presentations add extra visual and palatable aesthetic pleasure to even his most simple preparation.
We’re approaching our first anniversary. In this year I’ve hardly handled a pot, though in our division of labor I do most of the dishwasher loading and unloading. I’m good at organizing, so I can fit in a very compact, energy conserving load.
On my own I brew an excellent pot of tea. I know my way around a microwave and can make a mean grilled cheese sand (slather on the mayo), but in my husband’s talented, capable company I really don’t need to mess with the cooktop or oven. These days I much prefer to be an extremely appreciative audience.
In recent weeks, as preparations have been underway at artCentral for Josie Mai’s solo exhibition, EAT ART: Hand-Rubbed Collages, David and I have more and more become an appreciative audience for Josie. She’s done her work to get ready for the magical life she’s living. We greatly admire her reverence for food, her terrific artistic talent and her excellent time management skills as she does the creative dance of relationship and art making while fulfilling her multi-dimensional day job as Executive Director of Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin.
As artCentral’s celebrity chef, Josie’s passion for artful eating has brought her to us! She’s a true phenom. A woman wonder! Her EAT ART body of work on the walls of Hyde House declares: “Josie has arrived!”
Originally from Roeland Park, Kansas, in the Kansas City area, Josie earned a Bachelor’s in Art Education from the University of Kansas and a Master’s of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in NYC. She taught art K-12 in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. She was an Associate Professor of Art at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, and Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg.
In addition to teaching visual art, Josie teaches cooking lessons from her kitchen studio. At artCentral she’ll offer a workshop and a class during her EAT ART exhibition: a Collage Workshop ($15)*, Saturday, April 14th, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and a Cooking Class and Meal ($40)*, Saturday, May 12th at noon. *Spaces are limited. Reserve your place early: (417)358-4404.
See Josie’s EAT ART exhibition during artCentral’s weekend gallery hours through May 20th: Friday and Saturdays, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00-5:00 p.m., or by appointment at (417) 358-4404.
Also see www.josiemai.com; Josie Mai: Studio on Facebook; and josiemaistudio on Instagram. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.