ART VIEW by PAULETTE THENHAUS
From the Cemetery to the Eatery
Post offices, schools, churches, restaurants, even the cemetery, every place you visit in Knox County during a busy week, may have original, priceless art... a piece of Knox County history. A website "History of Public Art of Knox County" recently launched at http://www.galesburgarts.org/publicart may make you stop in your busy tracks...and open your eyes.
Knox County is rich with 100 years of civic and art history and all of it is recorded in paint and metal. Important events such as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the founding of the county, even the first train (the Reindeer) to come into this railroad town. It's all documented. The website features world class artists: Avard Fairbanks, N.C. Wyeth, yes, Lonnie Stewart and more regionally recognized stars: Werner Buser, Ron Hatch, Tom Lytle and twenty more notables.
I have a few questions for you. Did you know Jimmie Crown has a museum in a local church? Did you know both Oneida and Altona have on-going artists' sculpture "parks" that welcome visitors? Did you know Knox County has not only one W.P.A. artwork, but two?! Did you now which cemetery has a Lonnie Stewart sculpture? Did you know Abingdon has a 83' 6.5" totem pole (Big Daddy)? All of this is pretty exciting.
If you have a computer (The library does offer Internet), first take a virtual tour. Then, put on your jogging shoes or find your car keys, and make an in-person visit. Sure, take the kids. Discover. The sites are all free and available to the public, though with churches you will have to call the Galesburg Civic Art Center which will help you make an appointment. It's so much more interesting than this season's TV offerings.
The grant to do the research, photography and to design the website is made by the Illinois Humanities Council. Sponsor for the grant is the Galesburg Civic Art Center.