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Appreciating America through art
Kitsap Regional Library teams up with the Kingston Art Gallery to showcase great American masterpieces with current KAG artists Nov. 8-9.
Art is one of the few things in life that can connect people to the past while at the same time inspiring fresh thinking.
Artists and their work have often been regarded as the mirror of their respective societies, as well as the chroniclers of their respective histories and sometimes as escapists from their societies, altogether.
Still, much can be said about a nation and its people through their art. And with that ideal, the National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded more than 26,000 schools and libraries across the nation with a grant of portfolios containing 40 double-sided, large-scale, full-color reproductions of American artwork — from primitive functional crafts and trades to portraits of presidents to the great works of the country’s history.
They call it the “Picturing America Initiative.”
“Picturing America helps us understand our democracy by bringing us face-to-face with the people, places and events that have shaped our country,” said Bruce Cole, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Author John Updike called the initiative brilliant.
Schools K-12 throughout the state, including those here in South and Central Kitsap and all nine branches of the Kitsap Regional Library, received Picturing America portfolios through the NEH grant this year.
When the Kingston Library branch received its posters earlier this summer, the librarians there were left to figure out what would be the best way to utilize them. Knowing they didn’t have the space to display all 40 of the double-sized placards in its small building, the Kingston librarians looked to their community and found a fitting partner in the Kingston Art Gallery.
This weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 and again from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 9 the posters will hang along side KAG artists at the gallery in downtown Kingston. And in a special dovetail, on the regular Second Saturday Gallery Night from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 8, the KAG will be feting the special exhibit of American masterpieces as well as its featured artists for this month — glassworker Jim Gregory and painter Joanne Schoener Scott.
Being contemporary American artists, Gregory and Scott each have a role to play within the theme of Picturing America as well.
Scott is mainly an acrylic painter with a multi-cultural background, part-Hispanic, part-Carribean and having lived as a child in both South America and Europe before immigrating to the United States.
Gregory is a glass chemist who, for more than 30 years, has made glass from raw materials and fashioned and fused it into everything from bowls to garden art to the traditional leaded windows which got him started in the trade.
While Gregory and Scott may be on a smaller scale with their work at a small gallery on a peninsula in the middle of Puget Sound, they’re each, in their own way, also creating images of America.