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In Retrospect


“In Retrospect” on Exhibit July 15 – September 8

(NEWTON, Kan.) – One artist sculpts her creations in brass, stone, copper, wood and clay inside an old chicken house that she converted into her art studio. Another teaches art to energetic high schoolers and finds that after 22 years of teaching he still considers himself a student and will always continue to learn through paint. The third artist is a retired physician who hopes that he can help the fragmentation found in society by creating a sense of wholeness in man through his art. These individuals have at least three things in common: they are award-winning artists, they each have lived in or near Halstead, Kansas, and together they are exhibiting a retrospective of several years of their artwork at Carriage Factory Art Gallery.

With examples from more than 20 years of artwork by Caldwell, Marsh and Vannatta, the new exhibit will feature 50 of their selections in oils, acrylics and sculptures.

James Caldwell

Caldwell taught high school art for 22 years in Halstead before recently moving to Oskaloosa to pursue teaching there. He grew up in Beloit, Kansas, where his artistic talents were recognized early on. In college he made the decision to make art his life. He has painted ever since. He received a degree in art education from Emporia State University and his masters of fine arts from Wichita State University.

“Through my schooling, I have learned that to be an artist is to always be a student,” Caldwell said. ” I will continue to learn through paint for as long as I am physically able.”

Gene Marsh

Dr. Gene Marsh was raised in a family that was quite musical, he said, but his own aesthetic sensitivity turned toward the visual arts. After practicing general surgery for nine years, Marsh left his practice to pursue his BFA in painting and attended graduate school at Wichita State University.

“I am fascinated by the fragmentation found in modern society,” he said. Particularly fascinating to him is the loss of ancient relation of the artist, priest, healer and leader in the same person. “I believe that in fragmenting these functions, man himself is fragmented. It is my hope that art can help by creating a sense of wholeness in man.”

Marsh has designated that his sales proceeds from the exhibit go to benefit Heifer Project International, a charity organization that works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

Beth Vannatta

Sculptor Beth Vannatta graduated from Fort Hays State University with an art education degree and then taught at Dodge City High School and later Hutchinson High School. After retirement, she taught jewelry design and then began sculpture classes at Wichita State University.

“Sculpture is my life, my love,” Vannatta said. “It is my past, my present and my future, with a little political flavor thrown in for seasoning!” Vannatta owns a 48-acre wilderness farm outside Halstead, where she converted an old chicken house into her studio.

The works of Caldwell, Marsh and Vannatta will be on display and for sale at Carriage Factory Art Gallery through September 8. For more information, call 316-284-2749.