artNotes from Hyde House: High Schoolers visit SIGNS & WONDERS! 

Cheryl Church's Carthage High School Senior Art Students. Photo courtesy artCentral

Homeschoolers and high school senior art students make perfect bookends for two visits to SIGNS & WONDERS at Hyde House!

I felt totally blissed after spending a gallery morning art adventuring with nearly two dozen homeschoolers and their entourage of moms and siblings! We had so much fun learning—looking and seeing, asking questions and sharing comments!

Opening a new message lighting up my phone, I was pleased to find Cheryl Church asking to bring her graduating Carthage High School senior art students for a to view SIGNS & WONDERS. Since their class schedule did not jive with our regular weekend gallery hours, we made arrangements for a special appointment on a Thursday morning—their last day of art class with Mrs. Church.

Cheryl, like our artCentral board member Alexandra Burnside, is an artCentral artist; both are experienced and very popular artCamp teachers; and both in the last year have received the honor of being named by the Missouri Art Education Association as “Art Educators of the Year”—Cheryl as the high school level recipient and Alexandra in the elementary division.


Given Cheryl’s serious cred in the world of art education, I knew touring with Cheryl’s class was going to be another happy art adventure with eager young artists-in-the-making.

Arriving in an assortment of vehicles including a black-‘n’-white retired police car they stood in the parking lot waving hellos. Inside we exchanged names and had a photo op and the tour began. Briefly I told the story about how my husband David and I created SIGNS & WONDERS from inspirations gleaned and gathered over four years from various local walking excursions and Sunday morning country road drives paired with Sunday afternoons in our twinned studios.

Questions were asked and answered and responsive observations made as we moved from gallery to gallery. In the foyer we talked about “The Monk on the Mantle” celebrating the meditating monk found in a vintage collectibles shop on our historic downtown square. My multi-dimensional painted photo tableau includes the marigold honored monk sitting before a photo of a lush meadow with a prayer flag wafting through an empty frame suspended between the two picture planes. “Why marigolds?” someone asked. In India marigolds are thought of as “herbs of the Sun” symbolizing creativity, passion, brightness, positivity and happiness—attributes worth cherishing and celebrating in a work of art! They pop up often in mine.

Much attention was given to David’s sculpture standing massive and strong on the front gallery credenza. “Plowshare” is constructed of chunks of logs, supporting limbs, thick planks and a bamboo spear with a blade Decorations include WWII medals bestowed on David’s father. The ensuing discussion brought to mind the Biblical passage found in Isaiah 2:4, “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Besides the 98 works of SIGNS & WONDERS, Hyde House, as always, was a favorite feature of my guests!  The paintings of our benefactress Katherine Hyde were greatly admired as was her décor of a pink and green palette seen in the two bathrooms (one pink, one green) and in the kitchen along with the stove reminiscent of an Oldsmobile from the 50’s. All were worthy of close inspection. They even inspired selfie and group photos before the fluorescent lighted mid-century vanity mirror!

There is still time for you to drop by, take in all the art and the charming features of Hyde House and have your own photo ops! Two SIGNS & WONDERS weekends remain with viewing hours continuing on Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. through May 21.