Art appreciation began at an early age for Bev Simonson of Great Bend, and has been passed down to her daughter Kim Wiens and granddaughter Amy Wright. Now the three generations have their own works of art on display in a combined exhibit at the Great Bend Public Library, 1409 Williams St.
The paintings, drawings and photographs will be in the Fine Arts Room of the library through June 13, and the public is invited to meet the artists at a reception this Saturday, from 2-4 p.m. at the library. Light refreshments will be served. Wright will travel from her home in Denver, Colo., for the event.
"We’re excited about the show," said Cara Negaard, the head of the library’s reference and acquisitions departments.
Simonson recalls that her sixth-grade English teacher became aware of her interest in art. "She loaned me art books of her own and encouraged me to draw." She took art classes her senior year in high school and then with Orlin Baker of Great Bend, doing portrait work in charcoal and, later, in pastel.
"In about 1954 a friend and I started studying some books on drawing and that prompted us to go out on sketching trips." They decided to learn how to paint in oil and watercolor. With the arrival of Barton Community College, there were several courses available.
Simonson has a wide range of subject matter and painting techniques. This show has paintings inspired by places in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and England.
Wiens adds paintings and drawings for this exhibit. Representing the second generation, Wiens grew up watching her artist mother.
"Through all of my growing-up years, I spent time watching her paint in her make-shift art studio — which was our family dining room."
Always fascinated by the creative process, Wiens took a few classes in drawing and in pastels over the years. "By the time I reached high school, music had taken over my extracurricular interests in the form of singing, and piano and guitar playing. Although I went on to earn an associate degree in music and used that knowledge extensively in my adult career, I have to say that art work was almost thoughtlessly and unceremoniously placed on the ‘back burner.’ Not totally forgotten, but definitely not pursued."
Two years ago her interest in visual arts was revived. She picked up one of her mother’s art books and had "a spontaneous and somewhat surprising desire to draw again." Since then she has been working mostly with graphite, a medium that allows her to focus on details. She said she’s looking foward to experimenting and practicing with more watercolors and pastels in the future. This is her first public art exhbit.
Wright’s photos round out the three-generation exhibit. For a series of portraits, Wright asked each subject to tell her their definition of "peace," or what peace means to them. A quote from each subject accompanies each portrait.
According to her website, amykwright.com, Wright grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and has lived in Denver since 1999. She has a B.A. in speech communications and a minor in art. She works as a photographer, both in the world of fine art and commercial photography. She has also cultivated experience as a store marketing director for Whole Foods Market; as an intern at the mayor’s office of Cultural Affairs; working as a resident artist, at both the Assembly and Annex Galleries; and as a teacher’s assistant,in photography, at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Travel is another component that has shaped her experience and she derives much of her inspiration from her time spent abroad.