artNotes from Hyde House: LUCK of the IRISH – HATS OFF to a GREAT MAN


We are blessed. Hour by hour, day by day, spring is unfolding beneath us, above us and all around us. Having come through February’s freezing blizzard, the clusters of crocuses seen on artCentral’s lawn and spread out in popup fields across Central Park are emerging more abundant and beautifully celebratory than ever! Each morning’s early birds carrying on with their courtship antics and songs above our puppy yard, keep our Aussie, Lasyrenn, cavorting and rubber necking after them, instead of concentrating on running her agility course.

Spring at last is stirring! Spring and I am feeling all around us the luck of the Irish for all the world is beginning to grow green just in time to celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day on March 17th.

“The luck of the Irish” is a saying perhaps derived from fairytale folklore, namely the legends of leprechauns, believed to have successfully stored their gold in places impossible to reach, making them very lucky, as well as rich! The phrase has actually been traced back to 1800’s California during the gold rush, when it became apparent to the thousands of less successful prospectors that many of those lucky ones who struck it rich were of Irish descent and Irish-American birth.


Of course this explains my good fortune to land at artCentral, for I come from hardy Irish stock! With a fair amount of wandering around I have had the good luck of the Irish to find and settle with my husband David in this treasure of a small town.

These greening days in Carthage have me thinking of my Irish ancestors.  They came from the Green Isle making their way through Missouri going south across the Arkansas border to settle and successfully set up farming in the rich black soils in the fork of the Osage and Kings Rivers.

As I ponder my people raising their family on those river banks, my mind turns to a greatly loved and respected Carthaginian who loved being with his family at their river house. Just days ago, from their river house, Dan Armstrong, departed our greening world leaving behind his wife Sally and their family he adored.

I cannot remember Dan without seeing Dan with Sally as a team. Not too long after I discovered artCentral and Sally discovered me, Sally asked me to have a solo exhibition at Hyde House. Soon, after I happily accepted Sally’s invitation, Dan and Sally came to dinner to see my portfolios and my art displayed in my home outside of Carthage.

From that evening on I knew Dan as the man behind the woman who made artCentral a centerpiece of the cultural life of Carthage. He was the supporting player, the muscle at Hyde House helping in countless ways to keep up the place—painting doors and display pedestals, cutting up and hauling away a storm-downed tree, mopping away the sticky popsicle drips left by artCampers on the front porch.

As time went on I learned more and more about Dan the Man—a Great Man, Coach Armstrong—who dedicated his career to teaching and serving the students of Carthage. I enjoyed the luck of the Irish hearing the stories told about this giant. My Irish ears loved the tales told by him, for Dan, a Scotsman who knew his way around a kilt, was a true and passionate raconteur. For today and evermore Dan Armstrong will live on in the oral anthology of artCentral.

With great love and deep caring the community of artCentral extends deepest condolences to Sally and their three daughters Alice, Aggie and Lucy and to all their family. May they find true comfort in the rich legacy of stories Dan leaves for their sharing.

When you are next at artCentral remember this Great Man, Dan Armstrong, and all he gave to all of us. We are so very thankful for his life well-lived among us.

March 13, 2021, Saturday, is the closing day for KALEIDOSCOPE at Hyde House showcasing 44 artworks 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.

March 24, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday: Support artCentral on this one day fundraiser. Go to, select artCentral and make your secure donation. Every contribution makes a difference! Please GIVE4ART! on GIVE CARTHAGE DAY sponsored by Carthage Community Foundation and Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Thank you!