News Column

Exhibit highlights municipal art collection

August 25, 2014

By Stephanie Salmons, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Aug. 25--Each scene is different, but they have the same purpose -- to depict life in Owensboro as it was in 1974.

Artists from 11 states visited Owensboro that year, creating more than 1,000 paintings as part of REALISM '74, according to an announcement from the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts.

From those entries, a jury of three regional arts professionals selected 44 paintings, each depicting sites within the community, which were then purchased to form the municipal collection.

Two dozen of those paintings are now on exhibit at the art museum, 901 Frederica St., through Oct. 26.

"It was designed specifically to function as a documentary for future generations, as a historical reference about how our community and its landmarks appeared, and it's really quite unique," museum Director Mary Bryan Hood said. "It's a very unique piece of living history."

Since 1974, the collection has grown periodically, she said. It normally hangs throughout the public areas of City Hall.

"We selected it to run concurrently with the 'RiverArtes: Art of Placemaking' exhibition because they have somewhat of the

same concept in that the RiverArtes is designed to acquire works of leased art for Owensboro," Hood said. "So we thought it was very appropriate to show what has already been done in terms of interior art."

"RiverArtes: The Art of Placemaking," a showcase of proposals for public art by regional and national sculptors, opened Saturday.

A community project the museum is implementing for the city of Owensboro, RiverArtes is designed to acquire potential pieces of public art for the downtown area, the riverfront development and for placement throughout the city, Hood said.

According to Hood, the municipal collection belongs to the public.

"These were gifts to the city ... on behalf of the citizens of the community, and it documents who we were and who we are,"she said.

The collection includes large watercolor and oil psintings documenting the former Owensboro Motor Inn, the former Trinity Episcopal Church, Daviess County Jail, Greer Supply Co., General Electric Co., Weir's Drug Store and the Harry Holder Motor Company and more, the release states.

"It's truly a fascinating collection. ... Just think, in 50 to 100 years from now, historians will have these wonderful, wonderful images of the community as it appeared in the last quarter of the 20th century," Hood said. "So it's very fine and important documentation, historical documentation."

Stephanie Salmons, 691-7302,, Twitter: @StephReports


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Source: Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY)

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