All about art – Palmer Museum opens new exhibit

palmer museum art display

YORK — A beautiful new exhibit has opened at the Anna Bemis Palmer Museum in downtown York, as the world of art is being celebrated.

Carrie Remmers, museum director, says the new exhibit opened this week and will remain open to the public until early August.

Celebrating art means a lot of things, as a myriad of mediums are being showcased.

When visitors enter the museum space, they will see a large table filled with art supplies. Remmers said these can be used by anyone who is inspired to create their own art, and the items will be part of classes as they are held over the spring and summer.

This is also a nod to an ongoing art contest as locals are encouraged to create their own art which will be judged at the end of the summer. The winner will have his or her creation showcased as a permanent part of the museum’s collection.

Now permanent in the museum space, front and center, is a case dedicated to the legacy of Anna Bemis Palmer. Remmers said this case will be part of each and every exhibit with the many items donated by Palmer being rotated over time. “We want to recognize her legacy,” Remmers said.

Then, the art display begins.

An area has been dedicated to photography which includes many of the beautiful photos which are part of the museum’s collection. There is also a display of vintage camera equipment.

Along the south wall of the space is a stunning, colorful display of paintings. The majority of them were created by Roy Tucker, a York resident who was also one of the founding members of the York County Agricultural Society. His paintings, created in the 1950s and 1960s, are mostly scenes from the old west, the pioneer days of Nebraska, landscapes and the great outdoors. The paintings are in incredible condition, which Remmers credits to the great care that has been taken over the decades to preserve these treasures.

Also part of this area are several paintings created by Luella Ells; a painting of Anna Palmer’s house; and a painting created by Eugene McDonald who went to high school in York before going on to become an artist for the cartoon series of Batman, Superman and Flash Gordon.

There is also a very large painting of Ben Zersen who was born in Gresham and went on to live a very eclectic life in many different arenas.

As Remmers pointed out, the painting collection wouldn’t be complete without a beautiful watercolor of the old York County Courthouse, which is proudly prominent.

There is also a massive painting created by Chad Keel back in 1979. Keel painted a scene while observing York sixth graders at a school camp. Remmers said the faces of the youngsters are so lifelike that longtime York residents say they can recognize exactly who is pictured in this detailed painting, even if it depicted a moment so many years ago.

There is also a soulful painting created by famed York athlete Bill Moomey who as a young man in 1950 created a portrait of 90-year-old Gerda Pearson of York. The beautiful portrait showcases the nuances of the woman’s face, almost as if to show her memories of being a pioneer child during the infancy of Nebraska.

There is a display dedicated to just sketches, which then leads to the very popular quilt display. Pulling from the museum collection, Remmers and volunteers also display embroidery, tatting, braided rugs, woodworking and beadwork.

Included is a display dedicated to visual arts in honor of York native Fred Niblo’s 150th birthday. Niblo, a famous director of silent movies, is credited as being the founder of the Academy Awards.

Another section of the museum is being used to display Eric Eckert’s world record-holding solvable maze, which he donated to the collection several years ago after his induction into the Guinness Book of World Records. Remmers said Eckert will be having a class for kids later this month, at the museum space, where he will teach them how to create hand-drawn mazes of their own.

“Of course, with the world of art, we also had to include a section dedicated to music and we are so excited we are able to showcase the work of James Asher Parks,” Remmers said.

Parks, a very accomplished composer, came to York in the city’s early days to be the director of the York Opera House and teach music at York Public Schools. He composed, arranged and published hundreds of musical pieces and books, to include many choral pieces, operas and Chautauqua music. Many pieces of sheet music and a variety of his books are on display.

“We are really excited to have such a variety for our art exhibit,” Remmers said. “We have had such a high caliber of artists in York. And we have a high caliber of talented people here now. We want to host programs throughout the spring and summer, so if someone would like to volunteer to come in and teach a class – in any medium – please reach out to me and we can definitely arrange to make that happen.”

When looking at the amazing collection, it is obvious the items have been well cared for.

“That is thanks to dedicated volunteers and curators over the years and the amount of care that has been given,” Remmers said. “We are also very excited as we recently got a $10,000 grant for hundreds of special archival boxes and materials which we will use to continue to keep all the items in the museum’s collection safe for many years to come.”

The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It is also open for special programming and private events, as they occur, in the evenings and on the weekends, per arrangements made with Remmers and the museum’s volunteer workers.

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