It’s week six of our Kansas sesquicentennial series, and to kick off Black History Month we’re taking a closer look at artist Dean Mitchell. Mitchell has been called a “virtual modern-day Vermeer,” by New York Times art critic, Michael Kimmelman.
Mitchell’s passion for everyday people is evident in this excerpt from his artist’s statement: “I want my work to be recognizable to people who don’t know anything about art. I grew up with a grandmother who had a fourth-grade education and didn’t know anything about art, and grew up around a lot of people in the south—it was a very rural area—art was not something that was accessible in the sense of understanding and really grasping it. So I always wanted my work to be able to communicate to that common man no matter what it was.”
Every object has a story, and stories build history. To celebrate 150 years of Kansas statehood we’re featuring 52 objects (or collections of related objects)—something new each week throughout the year—from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s 130-year-old special, and permanent collections, that represent our collective state history and cultural diversity.
Our collections are available for teachers, students, researchers and general interest, and we hope this online video program will provide insight into what’s so “special” about Special Collections. Your library’s commitment to collecting art and preserving local history makes it possible for users today and in the future to have immediate access to invaluable research material and cultural artifacts.
To learn more about Dean Mitchell, or for help finding books and video about him and his work, call or stop by the Sabatini Gallery (785-580-4515). We’re located on your right just beyond the Library rotunda entrance.