The collection was acquired by the Owensboro Arts Commission through a project designed to provide a historical documentation of Owensboro as it appeared in the last quarter of the 20th century.
The project featured a national competition called "REALISM ’74," in which artists from 11 states visited Owensboro in 1974 and created more than 1,000 paintings for one of the largest juried exhibitions on record at that time. From those entries, a jury of three prominent regional arts professionals selected 44 paintings depicting a wide variety of sites in the community as the top award winners. These were purchased by local businesses and organizations to form the municipal collection.
The collection includes large watercolors and oils documenting the former Owensboro Motor Inn (Corporate Center), the former Trinity Episcopal Church (Theatre Workshop of Owensboro), Daviess County Jail (Hampton Inn and Suites), Greer Supply Co. (Hucks), General Electric Co. (MPD), Weir’s Drug Store (Colby’s) and Harry Holder Motor Co. (Fifth Third Bank). Paintings also depict the intersection of 4th and Frederica streets, Smothers Park, Green River Steel and Daviess County farms as they appeared in 1974.
The collection has been expanded since 1974 with periodic gifts from the Owensboro Arts Commission and private donors and includes portraits of former mayors Jack C. Fisher and J. R. Miller. A group portrait of former mayor C. Waitman Taylor, Jr. includes city commissioners Russell Shifley, Jack Fisher, George H. Greer and Alton Puckett, who served as the City Commission from 1972 to 1974.
Information provided by Mary Bryan Hood
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