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Celebrate Local Arts at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

Joe Gray, art collector and local entrepreneur, in his St. Joseph office


Bo Hubbard, Pink Streets, tufted yarn

The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art opens two new exhibitions Sept. 17, 2021, that will give viewers a chance to celebrate the local art scene through two different lenses.

The Joe Show: Selections from The Gray Manufacturing Corporate Collection is the first public exhibition of a corporate collection from local entrepreneur Joseph Gray. Long ago, Mr. Gray embraced the idea that surrounding oneself with beautiful, interesting objects makes for a happier, more productive life.

“I look at it and it seems to say something to me,”
he explains.

Joseph Gray started collecting artwork in the late 1950s when his interest in art grew out his support for the artistic pursuits of his wife, Anne. His primary criteria for selecting artwork was finding a personal connection to the work. After he started displaying his collection at the offices of his company, Gray Manufacturing, in 1995 he discovered that he was not the only one who developed connections to the artwork.

The collection has grown to over 1,300 pieces, many of which fill the offices and hallways of his businesses. The company quickly discovered that surrounding their employees with artwork had a quantifiable effect on morale and productivity. The Joe Show will be the first time that this collection has been on view to the general public.

Missouri Art Now presents a snapshot of contemporary art from all four corners of Missouri. As Missouri honors its past during the Bicentennial year of 2021, six museums have coordinated to recognize the active visual arts community that continues to thrive across the state.

Sherry Leedy, Tilt, soft pastel

Missouri Art Now is an exhibition of 60 works by 60 artists selected from hundreds of submissions. The Albrecht-Kemper will be the final exhibition site following The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau; Post Art Library and Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin; The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia; and the Hannibal Arts Council in Hannibal.

This exhibition is a peek at the diverse voices of contemporary artists working in Missouri, exploring the broad range of experiences to be found in rural, suburban and urban milieus. Visitors can look for connections between the traditional oil landscapes, experimental abstract textiles, and delicate still lifes and engage with the vibrant contemporary art scenes from across the state.

The Joe Show: Selections from The Gray Manufacturing Corporate Collection and Missouri Art Now will be on view September 18 through November 7, 2021.

Financial assistance is provided by the St. Joseph, Missouri Convention and Visitors Bureau.

–Megan Benitz, AKMA Exhibitions Manager & Register, all images provided by Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

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