Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Stark Museum of Art

I am a huge, huge fan of art... not only because it is beautiful and a source of enjoyment and relaxation. Art also has power and influence - it evokes emotion and thought, it can affect society and culture. Look at history and how art has always had a place in monarchies, politics and class distinction.

However, the appreciation of art does not have to be on such a grand scale. All beauty is not in Paris and London! Many small cities and towns across the United States have their own collections. These smaller, local collections present their own history, more personal and often more meaningful. One such example is the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas. This museum, founded in 1978, is home of one of the finest collections of 19th and 20th century Western American art and artifacts in the country. Collections currently include Western Art (showcasing, amoung many others, one of my favorite of the American West artists, Frederic Remington), American Indian Art, Decorative Arts, as well as Rare Books and Manuscripts.

The Stark Museum of Art began with collections from Lutcher Stark and his mother, Miriam Lutcher Stark. Both became avid collectors of American art. Lutcher went on to collect American Indian objects in New Mexico. In 1943 Lutcher married Nelda Childers and together they continued to add to their collections. In 1961 they founded the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission to enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas through education and the arts. Today this foundation carries out it's mission through the programs of, amoung other things, the Stark Museum of Art, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

For more information, stop by the Stark Museum of Art's website, or take a trip to Orange, Texas and visit them in person!


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