Meet the artists
There will be a reception for the Art Among Friends exhibit on Sunday, Oct. 11, from 1-3 p.m. at the Great Bend Public Library. The public can meet some of the artists behind the exhibit and learn more about the group.
Before the “Art Among Friends” exhibit was completely installed at the Great Bend Public Library, contributing artist Barbara Jo Converse Stevens was enjoying the show.
Art Among Friends has been around for less than a year, but has grown to 21 members. They meet at 4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in a basement room at the library.
“We’ve just seen little smatterings of each other’s work,” Stevens said as the pieces started arriving last Friday.
The painters and ceramists of the Golden Belt have gone by various names over the years, including The Aquarians and Art. Inc. After the Barton County Arts Council closed its gallery, painter Beverly Simonson called a couple of her artist friends, and they started meeting in her home.
“We started adding names,” Simonson said. “There are a lot of art people in this town. We need a place to meet and share ideas.”
They moved from the Simonson home to Petr’s Frame House and eventually to the public library.
Along the way, Great Bend native Stevens (nee Converse) learned about the group. Today, she is head of the art department at Cloud County Community College and lives in Downs, nearly 100 miles from Great Bend. The mix-media works she contributed to the exhibit are called “spirit pieces.”
Professional and amateur artists alike are welcome in the group, and have works in the exhibit.
Artist Ann Rogers said she didn’t start painting until she was in her 40s. “My mother started painting in her 70s, and that inspired me,” she said. Her contribution to the exhibit is the painting “Fancy Hoofers,” of ballerinas dancing.
Herbert Harms is showing paintings that were inspired by flowers he saw in Hawaii, along with a study in the style of French painter Paul Cézanne.
Dolores Baker’s ceramic pieces must be seen from more than one angle to fully appreciate. The series, “Beauty Without, Beauty Within,” deals with mastectomy and breast cancer. The front of each piece represents what the world sees, but a closer look reveals hidden beauty. “It deals with society’s expectations for external beauty, and the internal beauty of women,” Baker said. “I made these as a tribute to women who are enduring breast cancer.”