artNotes from Hyde House: KALEIDOSCOPE at Hyde House and Windgate at Hendrix

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After a wonderfully celebratory virtual Opening, KALEIDOSCOPE continues through March 13, 2021, at Hyde House showcasing 44 exciting artworks created by 40 members of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition. Gallery Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00-5:00 p.m. at 1110 East Thirteenth Street in Carthage. CDC protocols are observed to keep us all safe and healthy.

About this time last year I was asked to participate in the opening exhibition for “art@hendrix!” at the new Windgate Museum of Art (WMA) at my alma mater Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. My intimate mixed media “Give Happiness” was selected to be included in the inaugural exhibit.               

art@hendrix!, described as “a love letter to Hendrix’s history with visual arts,”  celebrates the artistic life of Hendrix College prior to the WMA’s opening. The exhibition includes 94 artworks created or collected by alumni and faculty and staff, as well as significant works from the Hendrix permanent collection and courtesy of the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Originally planned as the WMA’s inaugural exhibition, art@hendrix! shifted to an online-only format due to the pandemic and is viewable at the museum’s website: www.windgatemuseum.org.

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Recently I served on an alumni panel in celebration of the Windgate’s online opening. The event started me thinking about my magical years as a student at Hendrix.

After spending my first undergraduate months at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, by good fortune I found my way south to Hendrix. Though the student body was fewer than my graduating class at Hall High in Little Rock, I knew I was somewhere special.

The campus was charming—colorfully canopied in fall, picturesque in winter and lushly blooming and green in spring. From the Art Department pathways paved with pecan shells meandered past the Victorian red brick buildings—the Chapel and Auditorium and halls of learning—to my women’s dormitory kept winter warm with old fashioned steam radiators.

Kathy, my roommate and I learned our goldfish did not fare well in their bowl placed on top of our radiator. Indeed, more than once we returned from class to find yet another wee one flopping about and drying out on the floor having leapt from their too hot basin of water. We were slow to realize the problem. I suppose we had our minds elsewhere.

Our classes were small and our professors caring. The academics were rigorous enough to demand our concentrated attention in keeping with Hendrix’s sometime bantered about identity as the liberal arts Little Harvard of the South. Plus, I had assistantships in the art and theater departments. Campus life kept me twirling! I spent my junior year organizing and implementing the campus social calendar. In my senior year I served as chairwoman of the Women’s Judiciary Board. Always, all the way through, art was then, as now, the center of my world.

What pleasure for me to know that Hendrix continues to recognize the importance of art in the midst of an academic life? Ensuring that the arts are a fundamental part of the residential liberal arts experience at Hendrix, the Windgate Museum of Art is the focal point of the north building of the new Miller Creative Quad which houses two residence halls. The museum will give all students an opportunity to live with art as part of their daily lives, as well as offering a deeper art experience through classes, Odyssey projects, and internships.

WMA will enrich all Hendrix disciplines, from the humanities through the sciences, while engaging the artistic community throughout the South with traveling exhibitions, residencies, commissions and partnerships with other museums and arts organizations in the state and beyond.

In the words of past President William M. Tsutsui “Just imagine walking across campus on a Friday afternoon, and in the distance you hear strings or jazz or voices raised in song. As you venture into the Creative Quad, you will be surrounded by activity and caught up in the energy: there is the art museum, with an exhibition hung and a gallery talk underway; across the quadrangle, an ensemble plays in open air; in the new auditorium, a film is being screened in state-of-the-art facilities; beyond the archway are actors bringing a scene to life.”

Yes, I can just imagine the new cultural dimensions the Windgate is bringing to the Hendrix experience! I love knowing that the Windgate will be a significant place of learning for art-loving students who will prepare to one day serve art and artists and communities as I am privileged to do at artCentral.

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