There was something about the Charles B. Rogers’ painting that caught Joyce Harlow’s eye.
It was 1986, and Harlow and fellow art enthusiast Barbara Jarvis were trying to select an oil painting from the assorted juried works on exhibit.
The two women, members of the Wichita-based Kansas Small Oil Painters, learned the group was having problems acquiring patron purchase awards, and so Harlow offered to award a $500 purchase from Lincoln County. After raising the money, the women were now faced with selecting a special piece.
“We knew it had to be a painting that would stand the test of time,” Harlow said in a story on the Lincoln Art Center’s website. “There were many to choose from, but Charles Rogers’ work, “Silver Fall Moon,” kept drawing us back for another look.”
The painting by the Kansas artist and educator would eventually be chosen, the first brick in a foundation that would build the Lincoln Public Art Collection, and eventually, establishing the Lincoln Art Center.
The collection was originally housed in the Lincoln Carnegie Library until it outgrew the space. In 1992, Cynthia Morton, Sharron Hamilton and Harlow decided to form a local arts and humanities organization to operate an art center capable of exhibiting the collection. And like that, the Lincoln Art Center was born. Through the years, the art collection has expanded to include several works from different mediums, with additional pieces added to the collection each year.
Under Harlow’s direction, the Lincoln Art Center also offers exhibits highlighting the work of local and regional artists and artisans. Exhibits are free and open to the public and are kicked off with a special event. The center, which is known throughout Kansas and the Midwest, also hosts an open studio every Tuesday evening and serves as a meeting place for local organizations.
To celebrate its 25th year, the center is hosting an open house from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 29. Drinks and appetizers will be served.
Mary Ann Stertz, board president for the Lincoln Art Center, said she credits its quarter-century of success to the hard work and commitment of several individuals, including Harlow, who freely give their time and ability to help wherever needed.
“I attribute the 25-year success and perseverance of the art center to Joyce Harlow, who, from the founding of the art center to the present, has dedicated her time, talent and expertise,” Stertz said. “I also believe the countless volunteers and talented contributing artists throughout the years have furthered its success.”
Yet another volunteer success story in Lincoln County.