Last week for Chisholm Trail Museum art exhibit… Hurry!

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sumner County residents still have an opportunity to visit perhaps the greatest collection of art in years from local artists, both dead and alive, at the Chisholm Trail Museum in Wellington. 

The special exhibit called “A Brush with the Past” – celebrates the paintings of artists who have Sumner County ties. The exhibit will run through Oct. 28, Monday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the building once known as Hatcher Hospital at 502 North Washington. 

The art exhibit, the brainchild of Sunni Bales, features many works from the now defunct Wellington Art Association from 1960 to 2004, as well as paintings and other art exhibits from others throughout the years. 

Those featured include: Marjorie Watson, Carol Long, Rebecca McAlister-Hines, Vera Epperson Potucek, Letha Rinehart, Grace Duerson, Ralph Cox, Arbelin Hayden Keyes (Miss Linnie), Marlene Hanson, Judy Elaine Smithback, Ed Barker and Donna Dudley-Barker, Sue Jean Hill Covacevich-Boys, Marcene Goodrum, LeNora Davidson and Elvera (Elvie) McDonald. 

Bales, who also organized the art exhibit at the Kansas Wheat Festival in July, decided to do another art exhibit as a fundraiser for the museum. It’s been a hit. Since Oct. 1, the museum has recorded one of its most successful fundraiser in years. 

“When we decided to do an art exhibit, we were thinking about four or five artists,” Bales said. “But the more I talked to people, the more they would recommend other artists. We ended up with 15 art displays.” 

Visitors, who take the tour for a mere $7, will see these art displays sprinkled throughout the three floors at the museum. 

Here’s a brief paragraph of the artists featured: 

Marjorie Watson – 1926-1977 – was a musician and artist, who wore only black because of a medical condition. Her art reflects her dynamic personality. 

Carol Long – is married to W.C. Long of Wellington and  joined a Harper County artist group in the 1960s. She was asked to paint an apple, and she fell in love with oil paints ever since. She would start an art association in Harper.

Rebecca McAlister-Hines – has just one painting, but it is a good one of a house. She lives in Denton, Texas and is the sister of Tom McAlister. 

Vera Epperson Potucek – 1907-2001- had two phases of her painting life. In the 1920s she had oil paintings. After putting her brushes away to raise children, she would come back using water colors and oils. It brought her many awards. 

Letha Rinehart – 1905-1990 – was from Conway Springs and was a housewife and professional artist. She was a graduate from a commercial art school in Minneapolis, Minn. and worked extensively with oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. 

Grace Duerson – 1905-2008 – helped establish the Wellington Art Association. She was fond of painting mountains and worked extensively with oil paint, watercolor and interior design. 

Ralph Cox – 1933-2001 – was a well known artists using many different mediums to create his art. He was a bachelor, lived with his brother, and collected perfume bottles. When he died his ashes were scattered over the Wellington Library, Prairie Lawn Cemetery, and a pasture with a pond where he sunbathed. 

Arbelin Hayden Keyes – 1861-1955 – was a bit of a mystery in that she was a daughter of a Presbyterian Church minister, who painted mostly portraits and still life in oil and watercolors. 

Marlene Hanson – studied art at Wellington High School, Kansas State and Emporia State and has changed her artistry several times to reflect that there is “new art to experience.” Her current interest is reflecting the still life drawings using colored pencils. 

Judy Elaine Smithback – 1948-2004 – had a commercial advertising business called Thumb-Tack Studios and worked in the art departments of both St. Francis Medical Center and Raytheon. She has several replica drawings including a painting of both President Roosevelts at the museum.

Ed and Donna Barker – the only husband-wife team featured in the art exhibit, met at the University of Arizona and eventually moved to Wellington in 1973. He had a firing building at the house they built southeast of town to make pottery and sculpture. They sell their artwork at weekend festivals. They are about to retire their kiln.

Sue Jean Hill Covacevich-Boys – 1905-1998, was born in Wellington but eventually became an art instructor at Winfield High School. There she would live in Mexico for 12 years, before returning to Kansas and starting the art department at Southwestern College. She painted the 63-foot mural at CornerBank building in Winfield. 

Marcene Goodrum – is definitely alive and kicking as an assistant Wellington Recreation Commission director. She has a diversified group of painting on the third floor of the museum, where she has produced over the years.

LeNora Davidson – the wife of Burt Davidson in 1953, studied under artists like Sue Jean Covacevich, Robert Kiskaden and others where she learned sculpture, printmaking, drawing and painting. She sold 15 minute ink and water color portraits at art shows in Kansas and Arizona. Among her paintings include the old Methodist Church, the Mayflower Travel Trailer plant, the Wellington Art Association and the Santa Fe dorms.

Elvie McDonald – 1928-1990 – married to Marvin McDonald and raised De Bertrand and Marvin McDonald Jr. wanted beautiful paintings in her home but could not afford them when she was married. So she started to paint. Several of her works have hung in the Wichita Art Museum. She also did pottery and was an excellent interior decorator.

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