Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Fall Palette

Now you might think that I'm going to write about leaves changing into their fall colors. Nope. Perhaps you think that I will write about the changing from bright summer colors to those of rusts, oranges and golds. Nope. I'm writing about artists, and the arts in Darke County.

"You can't make a living in the arts!" a statement that the Loxley girls grew up hearing more and more as we grew into adulthood. Peggy and I wanted to be dancers. Of course, going to a church that frowned on dancing made for problems. We stealthfully hid our dance classes. June was headed the way of the paint brush. Her lessons were okay since everyone knew that artists starved, and she wouldn't be tempted. Perhaps Mom and Dad tried to dissuade us from the arts, because Dad was a singer and knew that he could never support a family with his talent.

Well, maybe not all of us can make a living with our artistic endeavors, but we certainly need an outlet in which we learn and grow. I didn't step into an art gallery until I moved to Oregon. In case you didn't know, this a very artsy place full of galleries, theatre and more recently the TV show Grim. I saw my first Monet and Rembrandt paintings when my son went to Northwestern in Chicago. People did follow their dreams.

On one of my trips back to Ohio, I spent time at Bears Mill.The Mill itself is a piece of art, a piece of historical art. I was delighted to see an exhibit of sculptures and paintings. It was not only a historical place to visit but was the first art gallery I had visited in Darke County.

My cousin Alma Lea Gilbert is a wonderful artist. She truly has a gift. I first discovered her talent one summer back in the '80s. The family attended the great Darke County Fair. Mom wanted us to stop at the Art Pavilion to see Alma Lea's art. Wow! What talent! The pavilion was full of talented artists.

Our family tree contains several artists. I even sometimes have a hankering to pick up a drawing pencil or paint brush. A history of painting was alive in Darke County in the past. Before the camera, artist painted portraits and surroundings. Our past stayed alive through art and talented artists. Women were encouraged to paint China and do a little needlework. Art. Part of the way of living.

I love that Garst Museum protects the art of the past. I am excited to see the art at Memorial Hall. I know that I have not mentioned all of the places that support art in the area and apologize, but I sing your praises. Some time I will come back to Greenville and visit the places I have yet to see. I want to take the tour of the old downtown buildings. I will spend more time seeking out the art and artists of the area. Your events, your encouragement of young people to grow in knowledge of the arts is admirable. Businesses, I hope that you are using local art on your walls and giving to the arts in Greenville. Those of you who live in Darke County, learn more about the artists in your community. Try your own hand at something you love. You don't have to make a living at it. You can try something that just might give you joy.

The arts are important. They are the palette of talent that makes up the heart of a thriving community. Fall is here. Grab your camera. Grab a paint box. Pick up a pencil and paper and head out into nature to capture that fall beauty that is beginning. You don't need lessons. You won't be critiqued. This is just about you and a whisper that says, "Give it a try."

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