Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memories of the Prairie Lecture Series: Henry Varnum Poor: Commemorating 125 Years

The Dickinson County Historical Society will host its 18th Annual Memories of the Prairie lecture series beginning Saturday, June 2 at 7:00 pm at the Dickinson County Heritage Center, located at 412 S. Campbell St. in Abilene, Kansas. This lecture series will continue every Saturday night this summer through July 21.

On Saturday June 2, Ron Michael will speak about Chapman, Kansas native Henry Varnum Poor, who was one of the most recognized names in American art during the mid-1900s. This year marks the 125th anniversary of his birth, and the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, where Michael is curator, will feature an exhibition of Poor's work from July 8 until September 30, 2012. The exhibition will be composed of art from the Sandzén Gallery's collection and other regional institutions.

During his talk, Michael will discuss Poor's upbringing and family in Chapman along with his development as an artist. He was a noted painter, potter, writer, architect, and builder. Following his childhood spent in Chapman and Kansas City, Poor attended college at Stanford University and lived in California until 1919. He left for the East Coast that summer and the following year designed and constructed his own home and studio in New City, New York. Poor was actively involved in the national art scene, exhibiting his work and doing commissions throughout the United States. Additionally, he served as a teacher and helped found the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.

Ron Michael has served as curator of the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg for over 15 years. He has presented many talks on Kansas artists and has developed exhibitions from the Gallery's collection of art.

In addition to working as curator, Michael is an artist who has shown in many regional and national exhibitions and has taught art courses at Bethany College in Lindsborg.

In the spring of 2000, Michael received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design from the University of Kansas. Prior to working at the Sandzén Gallery and attending school at KU, he was a reference librarian for the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. In 1995, he received a Master’s Degree in Library Science and Information Management from Emporia State University.

Michael grew up in Denver, Colorado, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, TV and Film from Fort Hays State University.

The Memories of the Prairie lecture series is part of the Continuing Education Program of the Dickinson County Historical Society. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. The Dickinson County Historical Society would like to invite you to become a member to help support the programs and activities throughout the year.

For more information on this week’s program or about becoming a member of the Dickinson County Historical Society please contact the Heritage Center at 785-263-2681 or visit our website.

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