Thursday, October 19, 2017

Friday the 13th Art Teacher PD

Last Friday all of our district art teachers were given the wonderful opportunity to visit the Thomas Hart Benton Home in Kansas City.  Friends, it was amazing and awesome and smells like old books in there.  This was not my first visit, so I just enjoyed the experience rather than taking pictures (because I took them on my first visit and it's a museum--so duh, nothing changes).  I was sure I'd blogged about it before, but I can't find it (maybe it's time to organize my blog a little better???).   I also looked for all my photos on my work computer, my camera and my phone and couldn't find them (I'll look for them on my home computer later, and I pinky promise if I find them I'll add them).  Until then, some Benton facts, in no particular order: Thomas Hart Benton was born in 1889 in Neosho, MO.  He was married to Rita, and they had two children (their daughter is still living).  Benton was only 5'2 3/4" (there's a life size cut out of him on the walkway to his house). They were able to pay cash (!) for their beautiful home from his earnings painting murals ($6000 in I think 1939).  He taught painting at the Kansas City Art Institute.  One of his students is non other than Jackson Pollock.  Benton had a reputation as a hard drinker, but in reality, every drink (bourbon and water) was cut with more and more water each time to give the impression he was drinking you under the table.  He started painting most days at 6am. He died in 1975 of a massive heart attack in his studio before signing his last painting.  
If you're in the KC metro area, consider a visit to the Thomas Hart Benton Home.  You can learn more about it here.  The staff was so easy to work with and were so generous with their time.  All 19 of us (elementary art teachers from my district) were impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of our tour guide.

All of us outside Benton's home and studio.
Selfie with the man himself.
And I photobombed one of our newest teachers
(you're so welcome, Mia!)

 I found this quote from Benton that I added to the bottom of our agenda for our day:
"The artist's life is the best life... if you can get through the first forty years." 
Gives me some hope for a full-time art career of my own someday.
Now you can go sniff some old books to feel like you were there!

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