Friday, March 27, 2009

I hope that this painting is a pleasant surprise. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this person's work, it is a painting that my Grandmother created. It's title is "The Day My Father Died". Her name is Tella Kitchen. She was a great story teller, not only through her painting medium, but also through her ability to tell a story. I often think that I gained some of my desire to tell the history of my community because of her. I find her paintings fascinating. She was discovered by Robert Bishop former curator at the Ford Museum and eventual curator to the American Folk Art Museum. He felt that she was destined to be greater than Grandma Moses. In my eyes and heart there is no comparison. I am giving a talk in Bexley, Ohio in a room named for Leland McClelland. He was how I started. I often would talk about my Grandma to him and he thought that it was just a loving grandson talking. He visited her and as curator of the Art at the Ohio State Fair, she became the featured artist twice. Her work can be found in many prestigious collections and in books on American Folk Art. I recently spotted a piece in Architectural Digest. So on this Friday afternoon, I pause, I smile, and I think of Grandma. Take time to think about those good stories that you have in your history. Pleasant thoughts!