Starting this week, Wellington is showing off 60 pieces of art from local artists at an exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Museum, 502 N. Washington.

Art, a three letter word that impacts, inspires, and illuminates countless numbers of people. Starting this week, Wellington is showing off 60 pieces of art from local artists at an exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Museum, 502 N. Washington.

A Brush with the Past is the name of the event that opened to the public on Oct. 2 and will last through Oct. 28. The exhibit aims to celebrate the art collection of the museum, and the Wellington Art Association all while raising money for the museum.

"We have a lot of beautiful art here in the museum and I thought it was time that we recognized some of the great artist we have in our community," said Sunni Bales. "So we decided that we should do an art exhibit as a fundraiser for the museum." Bales is one of the event's organizers and is on the Chishom Trail Museum Board, and hopes people will learn about the town's artists, and what the museum has to offer.

"We're really going to be asking for donations for this exhibit, there's lots of things that need to be done," she said.  "As people walk through the museum, they can take a look." Bales said the museum must be kept up and has several issues that need to be addressed.  The exhibit will take patrons through each floor of the Chisholm Trail Museum.

"We'll have different stations, each artist will be grouped in different areas throughout the museum," Bales explained. "We'll have a little map for you when you come in to show you where each artist is located." Among the artists being featured is the late, Vera Potueck.

"This is a wonderful opportunity, my mother will be immensely impressed with this effort," said Jack Potueck. "I have four of her oils and one water that I brought into Sunni last week."  Lenora Davidson is another artist on the exhibit's billing.

"I have five, and then I painted one of the walls upstairs on the third floor, it's a mural," she said. The mural was painted back in the early 1970's.

Marlene Hason is looking forward to the exhibit that will give the community a glimpse of her work.

"I'm excited, art has been a part of my life since I was small," she said last week. "I'm always ready to see a new art show." One artist that will have a few pieces in the exhibit has a name– Arbelin hayden Keyes, but for the most part is a mystery that event organizers are hoping to find out more about.

"They called her Linnie Keyes, we had some art upstairs from her," Bales said. They found some of her works in the museum. "She was around from the late 1890's and she died in 1955." Bales said if anyone has any info about Keyes, to get in touch with the museum.

"We became very interested in her, it turns out she lived here all her life, but no one seems to know much about Mrs. Linnie," Bales added.

People may view A Brush with the Past, daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum. Admission is a donation of seven dollars for adults, five dollars for children ages three to five, and kids under three get in free. Organizers ask that children not come to the exhibit without an accompanying adult.

Local artists smiled at the opportunity that the exhibit represents.

"I was very honored, because I've had art for years and I never get interviewed or asked to do anything," Davidson said. "So I was thrilled."

Local art association remembered

The Wellington Art Association was one of the city’s great organizational success stories.  It was formed originally in the early 1960’s by area patrons of the arts… the organization failed to get going and promptly flopped. 

In March of 1966, the idea was picked up again by a more energetic group of people and its popularity spread rapidly. With a paid membership of 30 people, the WAA strengthened its influence in the city with several art shows and the Wellington Art Association was given permission by the City of Wellington to relocate to the Recreation Center in Sellers Park. 

The building was later renamed the “Park House Gallery”.  During this time, many gallery exhibits, artist, workshops, meetings and hours of love for the Arts transpired within the Park House Gallery's very solid stone walls.

The Association was a non-profit organization to foster the appreciation and enjoyment of the arts; by gathering together those who had common interest in all forms of the visual arts, and provide an opportunity for both amateur and professional artists to exhibit and sell their work.

The Wellington Art Association dissolved and ceased meeting in the Park House Gallery in 2004.