artNotes from Hyde House: Surprises, gifts and the art of taking turns


Spring is a time of remarkable generosity when day after day Mother Nature, expecting no compensation, delivers her myriad surprises and gifts for our pleasure.

Surprises are for sure happening in our domestic Paradise where our feathered friends are nesting in curious places. Coco, Penelope and Sadie, our laying-hen Chickie Babes, are building new straw nests in surprising, random locations and preferring these of their own creation rather than David’s well-prepared laying boxes.

A visiting mama robin is choosing an equally surprising nesting site in one of the two “Dr. Seuss” cedar evergreens at either end of our front porch. “Dr. Seuss” we call them because their branches undulate in zig-zaggy curves as they circuitously make their way up and up. Our mother robin’s nest, cradling her four vivid blue eggs, is nestled among the “Dr. Seuss” branches. They all but hang over the porch railing and beside our conversations at the old round wooden table where we like to enjoy our spring dinners.

This fresh new season seems especially lush, perhaps because our winter just past wasn’t as harsh as many have been. With crocuses and daffodils arriving as first harbingers, sweetly fragranced hyacinths and tulips both vivid and pale soon followed. Alabaster sprays of bridal veil and shrubs of coral and pink quince and japonica took their orderly turns as old fashioned landscape decorations under magnificent Japanese tulip trees blessedly spared from late frosts.  As dogwood blossoms are unfolding, many-hued redbuds and lilacs growing fragrant have joined the flowering trees of pear and crabapple and weeping cherry.


Mother Nature knows best! With her presentation of each new gift in turn, she gives us time to savor before we bid adieu.

At artCentral we are bidding adieu to three cherished members of our board of directors who have given tremendously of their gifts and are now departing for their next adventures in their work and philanthropic endeavors. To Jane Van Den Berg and Gail White and Lee Pound we bid our fond good-byes knowing we will see them again in future seasons.

Arriving to take their turns each of our three new board members brings unique and splendid gifts to share.

Madelynn Capps, a Carthage native known to many as “Maddie”, will graduate from Crowder College in May and begin studies at Pittsburg State University this fall. Double majoring in English education and photography, she aspires to be an English teacher, photography teacher and assistant tennis coach. While attending Carthage High School Maddie participated in 4-H and was the yearbook’s photographer in her junior and senior years. She’s been an intern/docent and artCentral member for four years. In April 2016, Maddie with Katie Watson debuted as a photographer-artist duet for artCentral’s first “Emerging Artists” exhibition. While studying and working part-time selling boots at the Justin Boots outlet store in Joplin, Maddie is growing her own small photography hobby-business one snap at a time.

Wendi Douglas, a Tulsa native, pursued an English degree at MSSU with a focus on technical writing. She has worked for the American Cancer Society, Girl Scouts and United Way in positions focused on public relations, recruitment and fund raising. Wendi served nearly ten years as the Executive Director of the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Married to Brad and living in Joplin with two daughters, Wendi has been honored as an Influential Woman by the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal and has served on the board of the Young Professionals Network of Joplin, The Missouri Travel Council and Missouri Association of CVB’s. She’s a founding member of Vision Carthage and Carthage Art Walk. She currently serves on the boards of the Joplin Sports Authority and the Carthage Council on the Arts where she volunteers for the newly created Art.A.Fair committee. Wendi’s also a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Kerry Sturgis, a longtime photographer, and his wife Bev, artCentral’s Membership Coordinator, have been artCentral members for ten years. They are master Gardeners and have served as Literacy Council mentors in the English as a Second Language program. A native of Florida’s Tampa Bay area, Kerry with Oklahoma native Bev moved to Carthage in 2008 after seventeen years in Albuquerque. There they participated in the vibrant art scene of Santa Fe. Kerry worked as a journalist during his Navy years and today uses those learned skills in his contracted technical writing. His main professional focus has been on industrial health and safety. He is a RN registered in Missouri. He serves on the more than 5K member Missouri Stream Team composed of volunteers who monitor stream health for the Missouri Department of Conservation. He monitors our own Center Creek here in Carthage. Oh, yes! and Kerry knows his way around a guitar and has an amazing repertoire of vocal tunes. He and my husband David are terrific jam partners!

Please join me in welcoming these three amazingly-gifted, best-of-spring gifts who are enthusiastically taking their turns on artCentral’s board of directors.

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