Last week the University of Kansas Hospital sponsored an opening for artists from Sumner Academy.Â This was more or less a result of a field trip we took them on last fall.Â The work resulted more from their imagaination than the trip, but it’s better that way.Â Great kids.Â Don’t know who the dufus in the white sweater is.
By the end of the event they all felt honored.Â Damn straight.Â Â As far as I know,Â all of them are going on to college.Â That pleases us–their parents, teachers, and me–more than I can say.
Well, the party’s this Friday, which the Star ran a Story on today.Â Â A majorÂ milestone for us, as it is for any gallery that only carries original art, and doesn’t rely on framing to fill in the financial gaps.Â The journey has at times been tough–as really it is for any business–but man the rewards have been great.Â They get greater each year.Â SoÂ do the projects.Â What’s next?Â I think a little something in LA.Â
Wet Spring, Oil on Panel, 24 x 24,Â Derrick BreidenthalÂ
Image above: one of the pieces in the silent auction.Â A portion of all proceeds will go to benefit the art programs at 3 different urban high schools, Sumner, Lincon Prep and Paseo Academies.Â Expecting 250 people.Â Should be a riot.
WeÂ had a Feature ArticleÂ in the Kansas City Business Journal last week.Â Why that paper?Â Because while we’re about aesthetics and a certain philosophyÂ first, if we can’t succeedÂ in businessÂ and help support regional artists,Â what’s the point?Â The arts–andÂ thus culture–don’t advance without the investment of capital,Â which my clients understand and respond to,Â both corporate or private.Â We’re very glad they do.
Sophisticated paper, the Biz Journal;Â they’ve got a far better grasp of the arts than most people in theÂ humanities realize.Â Â Obviously they felt that Derrick Breidenthal, above,Â made a better photographic subject than the gallery owner, hence my shot was relegated to the back pages.Â Well, I don’t blame them.Â
My wifeÂ and I attended aÂ celebration last night for Frances Gordon, founder of Latin American Imports, Queen of Brookside, generalÂ dispenser of love.Â Â Her store used to be in my gallery’s space, and it was she who invited us to move here two years ago.Â I’ve always been grateful that she agreed for us to take this location.Â
I never knewÂ Frances was adored by soÂ many people.Â The service, atÂ St. Peter’s, was standing-room only–and it’s aÂ huge church.Â Roughly 700 people attended, and those whoÂ addressed the crowd repeatedly touched on her kindness,Â her sense of love toward all, her generosity of purse and spirit, her ceaseless smile.Â
It was humbling, how many people revered this woman.Â I’ve only now grasped what a great lossÂ her passingÂ was for her family, and the city.Â It’s people like Frances who make a community, and make a lasting impact.Â I feel fortunate to have known her for the brief time I did.Â
Dark Composition, Graphite and Polymers, Jacob Burmood
I’m acquiring this piece, by Springfield artist Jacob Burmood, for BKD’s new headquarters.Â Jacob, as I think you can see, is greatly talented but was having a little trouble breaking out of the region.Â Well, this should help that.Â He and I will cover details overÂ a beer later.Â Make that several beers.
Taught a Career Seminar for artists this past Saturday in St. Louis.Â Â This was a convention forÂ members of the The Best of Missouri Hands, an association of mostlyÂ craft artists.Â Poor people, they had to sit and listen while I harrangued them aboutÂ how to develop their careers–for four hours.Â How anyone can put up with that, I’ll never know.Â Then they even applauded.Â Now that’s polite.Â
I’m going to acquire one of Leon’s pieces for the BKD collection.Â One of the most exceptional sculptors of his medium that I’ve ever met,Â Leon Niehues isÂ this gentle, latter-day hippie living with his wifeÂ in the hills of Northwest Arkansas.Â Kids all grown.Â Great studioÂ in a cabin, ankle-deep in wood shavings.Â Peaceful bit of property.Â And,Â as he humbly told me, heÂ has work in the White House Craft Collection.Â
Maybe one day he’ll be in my collection as well.
On the last day of our Trip to New Orleans, we took these shots.Â
All of these are of course the abandoned houses and neighborhoods that have little chance of coming back soon.Â Some peopleÂ there told me they thought that was by design, since they felt that many politicians didn’t want the people of the 9th Ward back, and therefore weren’t interested in sponsoring a rebuild effort.Â Maybe so.
Either way it was a sobering drive and walk for my sons.
We finished by cruising by one of the houses of the Make It Right Foundation, which Brad Bitt is sponsoring.Â Nice design.Â Hope it spreads.Â
Afterward we headed home.Â Our week in the South had taught my sons much about the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, southern culture,Â Cajun cuisine, Blues, and man what a great town New Orleans is.Â Damn good trip all around.
Sphere,Â Dave Regier.Â Hemisphere,Â Arlie Regier.Â Both in Stainless Steel.
Watchmen premiered tonight, so I’m now allowed to release shots of the sets with our sculpture on them.Â So far reviews for the flick vary from high praise to perplexity, which probably means it’s a good film.Â I’ll likely see it this weekend.Â We’ll have a lot of press coming out on it.Â The first ran today in The Pitch, by Justin Kendall.
Â Atomic Flower, Bronze, Brent Collins.
Â Hyperbolic Hexagon, Hardwoods, Brent Collins.
I know, the sets seem a bit stiff.Â But that serves a purpose, these being rooms from Dr. Manhattan’s home.Â That will all make sense when you see the flick.Â As for the photos themselves, this was before they were color-corrected.
Had lunch today with the indomitable Jim Leedy, founder of the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, retired instructor from KCAI, Grandfather of the Crossroads, ceramist and abstract expressionist par excellence.Â We ate in the River Market, at a quiet little Indian joint.Â There is no other like Jim, and none who could everÂ replace him.Â Â KC hasÂ been very fortunate that he chose to stayÂ here all these years.
There are a lot of great stories to tell about Jim, de Kooning, and Peter VoulkosÂ (Leedy’s business partner before he passed).Â But I’ll have to tell those later.Â Miles to go before I sleep tonight.Â