Over the past 20 years I have become an art aficionado.
There is a captivating allure to fine art and its magnetism is compelling.
Jonathon and I made a quick visit to the University Museum today…and were not disappointed.
Last year the Museum was shuttered due to budget cuts. Many of us felt like that our best friend had been laid off.
New Chancellor Montemagno reopened the Museum at the beginning of 2018 and it is inspirational to have it back! The old saying that ‘you really do not realize what you have…until it is gone’ is true.
When I reflect on my love of art, I am reminded of my desire to hang some nice and peaceful paintings, similar to those that I had purchased at Down’s Furniture Store, when I worked there…on a monthly payment…that I am sure was not much, as I believed that surrounding yourself with beautiful items to look at aided in creating a happy life.
Early in my career at SIU I was assigned to the Allyn Building, which is the School of Art, and there it was that I first developed a keen interest in the magic that artists produce.
I noticed the friendly nature of the student artists that I encountered and took great pride in having their building, immaculate, for the Rickert Ziebold Art Competition. In fact, my custodial efforts were so appreciated by the School of Art that I was invited, for many years, to the reception for the award winners that was held at, what was at that time, the home of the Chancellor.
Note: The above three photos are from a current University Museum Display by the Artist Larry Bernstein.
We visited Montreal, Canada in the latter 90’s. What a lovely city and superbly friendly people!
Between the nightly search for the best creme brûlée in the city…to which each restaurant that we attended…swore that they had. And, the wonderful Molson Beer and abundance of it at the Hard Rock Cafe. Whereas, finally we pursued the Art Gallery’s.
Now, the Gallery that we enjoyed the most had the most interesting painting of Mary…that was painted on board by a french Canadian artist. The painting was haunting in its realism and an aura that you could not look away from.
As the french speaking gallery attendant spoke enthusiastically to me regarding the painting…she quickly switched to english and asked me if I would like another glass of red wine. With each glass of wine…the art called to me…more.
There was also an intriguing pastel of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, in Paris, that was painted by the artist, Edith Hoyt. The gallery attendant told us that Ms. Hoyt had been one of the paramours of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Later, our friend, Jo Ann, who was an expert on Roosevelt history…told us that she know nothing of Edith Hoyt.
However there is also a Notre Dame Cathedral in the ‘Paris of the North’ or better known as Montreal. While Mary Jane toured the Cathedral I sat by a, prominent gargoyle, and throughly enjoyed smoking a quality Cohiba cigar.
Paducah, Kentucky has a wonderful art colony. We have visited the artistic community for many years and it is a trip that is exciting and peaceful…at the same time.
I remember talking with, former SIU Board of Trustee Member Bill Norwood, and his telling me that after his retirement from United Airlines, where he was the first African American Pilot ever hired by the company, that he and his wife had chosen to make their home in Carbondale, Illinois because of the presence of SIU. He went on to note that whatever you wanted to do…you could do in Southern Illinois due to our, world class university. Whether it was a love of Art or Broadway quality plays or nationally and internationally know performers, Ice Cube, performed last week, SIU afford the unique combination of a placid and rural setting with the cultural advantages of a major city.