Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe: Art beneath the Carthage turrets

“Landmarks of Carthage — Jasper County Courthouse,” a painting by Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe, depicts the historic courthouse in Carthage, made from Carthage stone.Courtesy | Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe

Just before I moved to Carthage, I was poised to jump the pond to Paris — to spend some years living and painting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Voila!

Life has presented me with a marvelous surprise — a detour to middle America and this sweet Camelot we call Carthage.

Though I may not stand beneath the Eiffel Tower for now, every day I get to look up and see the enchanting turrets of our beautiful Jasper County Courthouse, artfully handcrafted decades ago from native Carthage stone.

My unexpected adventure among you is no shabby consolation to my anticipated dreamtime abroad. Day by day, I’m falling more and more deeply in love with the art and aesthetics that lie at the heart of Carthage. What a privilege for me to serve you and our neighbors as together we strive to enhance the quality of our shared life in Southwest Missouri. I love the work I do at artCentral.

What a pleasure to curate an exhibition as fine as “Arti Gras,” now showing in the galleries of artCentral. Featuring three dozen members of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition, the closing weekend is fast approaching. Come visit us from noon to 5 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, many of the works will be packed to move out to artCentral’s satellite galleries, while patrons appear and carry away the art they’ve purchased.

Established in 1985, we are very fortunate to have Hyde House as artCentral’s home. Daily we’re fulfilling the vision of Katherine Hyde, who bequeathed her family’s historic foursquare farmhouse to the City of Carthage to be used exclusively for the support, sharing and teaching of the fine arts.

I’m so very grateful for all artCentral members who support our unique, gallery-rich and thriving nonprofit arts center. If you’re not already a member, won’t you please come join us as together we celebrate this treasure and the art and artists we love?

Membership is the bedrock of artCentral’s success and vitality. Membership matters! Please renew or become a first-time annual member and enjoy your many membership benefits including visits with real artists; use of the lending library and pottery studio; walks on our lovely campus and along the murals on the Great Wall; classes and workshops; plus quarterly newsletters and invitations to receptions, exhibitions and events.

Call me at 417-358-4404 or email artcentral@artcentralcarthage.org or go online to www.artcentralcarthage.org and click “join.” Select the membership category that suits you best (ranging from $25 on up).

Memberships are also available for businesses, professionals and organizations. Every membership dollar you invest in artCentral makes a difference! With your help, we’re able to increase our outreach as we sustain and grow our work for the greater good. Art matters!

Art tells the story of our human experience. Art speaks where words are unable to explain. Art connects us to our past and brings truth and beauty to our present. Art prepares us and leads us toward our future. Art is an essential component in any healthy, vibrant community, especially Carthage. You can’t spell Carthage without “art!”

Carthage has a history grown on a strong foundation of art. The elegant, native stone homes and public buildings we enjoy today were conceived and built decades ago by visionary artists and artisans. Set in nature’s splendidly colorful changing seasons and a friendly, welcoming community, these works of art are the lasting assets that make Carthage such a magical, appealing place to live and work and raise a family. The presence of artCentral makes Carthage ever better.

At summer artCamp for kids, we cultivate young minds to explore, while we encourage young talents to grow; we give meaningful summer employment to artists and art teachers; and we train interns to take first steps toward careers in art education and leadership.

Through our free-to-the-public opening receptions and rotating exhibitions we provide abundant, local gallery opportunities for artists to exhibit and to be recognized and celebrated for their successes that inspire us all to lives of heightened awareness and satisfaction.

In our satellite galleries we offer and share art in venues beyond our gallery walls. With volunteer and docent hours we open Hyde House to welcome art enthusiasts and families and friends, we participate in Art.A.Fair Carthage on the Carthage Square, and we enhance our Maple Leaf City with projects such as the artistically painted fire hydrants decorating our parade route.

By supporting artCentral you play an important role in facilitating artCentral’s mission to offer grand art in our small town. This small town is the perfect place for me to settle among you beneath stone turrets to work and to play in a vibrant community of art lovers and art makers until I someday really do jump the pond.

Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe is the executive director-curator of artCentral at the Hyde House in Carthage.