Vision becomes reality

by Judy Hodgson
Editor and publisher

IN OCTOBER 1991 THE JOURNAL had on its cover a painting by Morris Graves, the internationally famous visionary artist, who has lived in Humboldt County for the last 35 years.

At that time, the reclusive Graves agreed to let us use his art and to be interviewed as long he were not the topic. We were invited to his home, built in the woods on a private, rural lake near Loleta, to write a story about the concept -- Graves would say, vision -- of establishing a fine arts museum in Humboldt County.

Graves had given the Humboldt Arts Council, this county and this region, a tremendous gift -- several of his own paintings and the bulk of his private collection of other artists from the Northwest School. The group includes 90 art objects that museum directors around the world would be thrilled to receive.

"It's a phenomenal collection. It represents six decades of collecting," said Sally Arnot, member emeritus of the Humboldt Arts Council.

Five years ago in the old Cultural Center we were able to see a small part of that collection. The show was called, "Sharing a private vision." And since we were working on the story, we were also able to see the rest of the collection in a back room, rows of paintings stacked against each other and other crated items.

That collection now has a permanent home. The regional art museum will occupy the former Carnegie Library on 7th Street.

I am sure you have heard about the buy-a-brick campaign to save the Carnegie. But it's really much more than a building -- it's space that will be occupied by art to lift the human spirit.

You can help. The Humboldt Arts Council is about a third of the way through its fund-raising effort to renovate the building. Just look down your shopping list for someone who needs a truly unique gift this holiday season. My 10-month-old grandson is getting a $65 brick for Christmas -- along with a promise to visit his brick in the courtyard sculpture garden when the building is rededicated.

Speaking of sculpture, you can purchase a brick in person this month at a special sculpture show, the first in the Carnegie building. Windows have been washed and bookcases moved to the basement to make room in the rotunda for the works of Mel Schuler, Mort Scott and John King.

Visit the Carnegie any Wednesday in December from noon-3 p.m. It will also be open to the public on the first Saturday Arts Alive, Dec. 7, from 7-9 p.m.

If you can't get to the Carnegie this month, pick up a brick order form at locations around town (Humboldt Bank and General Hospital, for instance).

By the way, although we like to claim Morris Graves as one of us after all these years, he will always be known as the "Seattle visionary artist." As you will learn, however, in this month's cover story, due to a whim of his father's, he was actually born in Eastern Oregon. The story is written by his brother (and frequent Journal contributor), Wally Graves.


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