Thursday, June 19, 2014

Isaac Would Have Been the First One Inside the Door!

Painting on the reverse side of glass
Isaac loved art.  (See "Art in Isaac's Life and Today," 1-22-2014 in the blog archives.)  His estate sale included not only his art books but also many framed engravings, slides of art for this stereoscope, and images of artists from his card albums.  One of his ideas when he was still just a boy was painting a landscape by looking through glass.  In fact, creating art on glass, to be viewed from the unpainted side, was very popular during the Victorian era.  My own family collection includes the beautiful pink roses painted on glass shown in the photograph to the right.  Remember, unlike paintings in which the objects and figures are blocked out and the details are added, painting on glass requires you to paint the details first and then fill in the backgrounds, obscuring the details as you layer the background areas.  That seems very difficult to me!

However, this week's blog is not about art history or antique crafts but rather about making an even richer art history for our region's future.  Mimi Filley wished to honor the memory of her late husband, Dr. Vernon Filley, by gifting art she had collected, together with a generous donation for the building of the Vernon Filley Art Museum which allowed the building to be built free of debt.

Several members of the Board at the Slab Party
Mimi's dream came true because of the generous efforts of many members of the community, several of whom served on the museum board when fulfilling that dream seemed overwhelming (some of those board members having remained on the board long enough to see the dream fulfilled).  Many volunteered along the way, and continue to volunteer their time and effort, in many capacities.  Many others gave generously, their contributions allowing construction extras that would not otherwise have been done, and just as important, funding the services that will be available immediately.  Not every generous donor appears on the Founder's Plaque, but those particular donors and others stepped forward to make sure there were funds to hire staff, equip a state-of-the-art storage facility, landscape beautifully, train docents (whose generous gift of time and study to give tours is essential to the programs for adults and school children), equip and stock a gift shop that will offer original art and books not available in other local stores, commission a bronze made especially for the museum, gift custom gates for the court yard, provide funding to prepare for adult and children's art classes, support training for grant writers, fund an advertising budget to bring visitors to our museum and our town, and provide the support for the operating budget for our start-up year.  The dream is coming true because of countless acts of giving, whether gifts of time, talent, or money, without which Mimi's dream would not have happened.  Each of those gifts, big or small, made a difference.

 Our Co-Directors, Stan Reimer (who has shepherded the dream from the beginning), and Brittany Novotony (who brings her Master's Degree in museum management to the Filley's future success), as well as the members of our current board of directors, have brought their many talents and have donated countless hours in preparation for the exciting day so long awaited (and for the days ahead).

The Grand Opening of the Vernon Filley Art Museum is Sunday, June 29th, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.   Help us spread the word!  Pratt and the surrounding region have a long history of appreciation for the arts (some of which I have shared in this blog), and now the region has a new member to add to its family of museums, galleries, and other attractions.

Landscaping underway at 421 S. Jackson St., Pratt, KS
 We have some surprises in store for you, and we hope many of you arrive in time to see Mimi Filley take the scissors in her hands for the ribbon cutting.  The Directors, Board Members, and Docents will be present to answer your questions and make your first visit to your museum more enjoyable and informed.    

The Grand Opening is free to the public, and we hope everyone will come to learn more about all of the activities the Filley has planned for members.  Membership forms and people to help will be at the Opening to answer your questions about the various membership levels and the benefits they offer.

I just know that Isaac would have been the first one through the doors when the ribbon was cut at the Grand Opening at 2 p.m. on June 29th, to take advantage of the membership benefits of joining an art museum with both a permanent collection and rotating visiting exhibitions constantly bringing new art to his area!  Isaac did not live to experience that opportunity, but you can!  Come celebrate the opening of the new museum at 421 South Jackson Street, Pratt, KS, one block west of Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets!!   

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