DIAMOND — George Washington Carver National Monument personnel are gearing up for the annual Art in the Park, to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the monument.
All activities are free of charge and open to the public.
"Art in the Park is a fairly new event that we started a couple of years ago," GWC Park Ranger Curtis Gregory said. "It is an event to celebrate George Washington Carver's love of art. Many people don't realize that was really his first love. He actually learned to paint when he was a kid, when he was living at the Carver farm. At one point, he wanted to study art in college and then he turned to agriculture, but he never gave up his love of art and painted for the rest of his life. So the event is dedicated to Carver's love of art. And just to celebration of art and for artist to come out to the park and to create."
The day's event includes hands-on art workshops, art exhibits, painting for kids, special guest artist Lowell Davis, and Budding Artists (Junior Rangers) events.
The event is fun for all ages and will be held outside of the visitor's center and throughout the monument's grounds.
"Most of the event will take place on the outside, where we will have artists come out and just paint all over the grounds wherever they choose to," he said. "Then, we will also offer a couple of workshops throughout the day for visitors to participate in. We will also have a kids section called Budding Artists, where we will do some activities for kids like working with natural dyes, paint swatches and other activities. And then on the inside of the visitor's center, we will have a special presentation at 11 a.m. and we are very fortunate to have the Missouri artist Lowell Davis coming in and he will be doing a presentation about his career as an artist."
At one point, Carver attended Iowa State University. While there, he took art courses and exhibited his works in several Iowa cities. He moved to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and stayed there for 47 years.
"But he never gave up his dreams of art and he painted as a hobby for the rest of his life," Gregory said.
There will also be an exhibit of some of Carver's other art pieces on display.
"We have about three original pieces on display that Caver would paint and give away as gifts," Gregory said. "And we are very fortunate that years later after he died, the individuals donated back to the public so that the National Park Service, and then we, could have a couple of pieces that we have on long-term loan from Tuskegee."
Page 2 of 2 - The event has had a great attendance in the past.
"I think last year, we had about 200-250, we are hoping for a little bit more this year," Gregory said. "It is a fun day for all."
George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver: scientist, educator, and humanitarian. The monument is located two miles west of Diamond, on Route V, then south a half mile on Carver Road. For more information, please call the park at 325-4151.