Watercolors by Holly Roberts Walker
Connecting with the visual arts, physically, has been missed since the shuttering of all non-essential businesses due to the pandemic. As of July 1, the Yeiser Art Center opened its doors to the public, after being closed since mid-March, to enjoy the latest works of art by local, regional, and national artists. As a special treat, the Yeiser Art Center will exhibit the Paducah Wastelanders Summer Show 2020 through July 25.
This summer’s show is featuring local artists interestingly named Paducah Wastelanders. When hearing ‘wastelanders’ a memory comes to mind about the song incorrectly referred to as ‘Teenage Wasteland’ written by Peter Townshend and performed by the Classic Rock Band “The Who”.
The song refers to teenagers that sit around and waste their life and their time. In no way, do the Paducah Wastelanders waste their life or time. Many of the artists are very accomplished in many different areas of the arts.
One of the ‘Wastelanders’ is Curtis A. Grace. Grace is the son of the late Norma and Curtis Grace, owners of the Ninth Street House and House of Grace restaurants. The Ninth Street House, formerly located in Lowertown, was Paducah’s first four-star restaurant. Grace is one of the newest board members at the Yeiser Art Center. In addition to his artwork, Grace has curated a number of shows at the 1857 Hotel in downtown Paducah.
Another artist that is multi-talented is Mark Donham. In addition to his paintings, drawings and prints, Donham is a singer/songwriter and plays several musical instruments. In one of his recent Youtube videos, Donham sang and played guitar to a tune called “Taking it Day by Day”. More of his music can be heard at markdonhammusic.com.
Other ‘Wastelanders’ appearing in the summer show are Jason Hargrove, a graphic artist, sculptor, muralist, and certified blacksmith. Sandra Pfeifer, photographer, LaNelle Mason who recently participated in a women’s art challenge, and Juanita Gilliam, Jane Viterisi, and Ben Walker.
The guest artist for this month’s show is Holly Roberts Walker. Walker will be showing some of her watercolor paintings. She is the daughter of one of the original ‘Wastelanders’ E.J. Roberts.
The group was founded in 2007 by area artists prior to the ‘Artist Relocation Program’, a program promoted by the city to renovate the old Lowertown area of Paducah into an artists’ community.
The late Sara Roush, a pioneer artist, helped form the group and was at the forefront of the renovation of Market House Square. Her art is well-known in the area and the tile and ceramic work that adorns two storefronts in downtown Paducah still attracts visitors today.
The buildings, on Market Street and Broadway, display various designs on glazed ceramic tile. The enchanting facade is beautiful. Roush lost her decade-long battle with breast cancer in 2010. She is greatly missed.
The Yeiser Art Center is a non-profit corporate 501(c)(3) established in 1957 as the Paducah Art Guild for the ‘purpose of promoting the appreciation of the visual arts and further creation’. The center started small with a handful of volunteers and now has a permanent exhibition space with a permanent collection, and a supporting membership.