Betty Beeby and Walter Midener
The works of two artists of renown, the late Walter Midener and Betty Beeby, have been teamed together by JRAC to present a most formidable exhibit opening October 4 at the Jordan River Art Center.
Betty Beeby when conferring with Peggy Midener and viewing Midener’s sculptures which are expressive of the human form, stated, “I will include work with human figures to compliment his sculpture. She entitled the exhibit, “An A Peal of People.” and said it will be “A tribute of people to the great Peter Bruegel...he who steps in between humanity and myself.” While The Midener sculptures have from one to three figures in each, every Beeby work is a gathering of people at some event.
Midener, born in Germany came to the US in 1938, become an American Citizen in 1943, and served in the US Army. His love of art began early and received art degrees in Germany and the US. Teaching first in New York, then in 1943 he started teaching as head of the Sculpture Department for Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts which later became the Center for Creative Studies. He became Dean, Director, and President and was awarded the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts upon his retirement. Under his tenure the school evolved into a prestigious art school. At the same time he built his reputation as a renowned sculptor in wood, clay, cast bonze, and hammered sheet metal. In 1979 he retired to East Jordan with wife Peggy and continued creating art work until his death in 1998. He has exhibited widely throughout the US and abroad, with his work found in the Whitney Museum, NYC, Flint Art Institute, Michigan Supreme Court to name a few. His work can be found in many public and private collections and he has won numerous awards. Midener stated in the Fall 1990 issue of The Arts in Michigan, “I stuck to my own way to what I wanted to do. ....I developed my own style, in order to express myself, my thoughts, my surroundings, and the world I have lived in.”
Beeby, of Eastport grew up in Detroit. As a child she liked to draw and with never enough paper she often drew on scraps. An art teacher at Cass Technical High School inspired Betty and arranged for her to receive the Booth Scholarship to study art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has lived a lifetime of artistic endeavor first as a Staff Artist for Time Life Magazine and creator for CBS television’s Captain Kangaroo. People were always her favorite subject. She has illustrated numerous books, created over 30 book jackets of famous authors and has authored and illustrated many children’s books. She has received the Chicago Book Clinic Award for best in bookmaking art for Illustrating Potawatomi Indian Summer by William Oldenburg and Whistle Up the Bay by Nancy Stone, and for writing and illustrating Just Josie, She edited and illustrated Breath Escaping Envelopes which has been has been on the best seller list. Beeby was commissioned in 1974 to paint the 50 feet mural of the Mackinac Bridge which can be seen at Fort Michilimackinac Orientation Center and produced a series of lithographs of the Peterboro Letters. In 2008 Beeby received the State History Award from the Historical Society of MI for Distinguished Volunteer Service.
For the exhibit there are 17 sculptures in metal, bronze wood, and terra cotta by Midener, plus selected preliminary drawing and photographs. Beeby has chosen 30 works in oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints. Also included is an autobiography, A Book of Hours, written in poetry by Terry Wooten which she illustrated. Copies will be for sale.
A catalog with comments, biographical material and listings of the works in the exhibit has been produced. JRAC is honored to be able to bring this fine art exhibit to members, other artist, and friends. It is an exhibit that should not be missed.
The exhibits runs through November 6 and is open daily from 1—4 pm, 301 Main St. , East Jordan. School groups are welcome. Other times can be arranged by calling 231-582-3369 or 231-544-6167. More information can be found at www.jordanriverarts.com.
ARTIST GATHERING IN LOWER GALLERY
“Vista and Visions” in the lower gallery. Works of art by artists who gathered together each Thursday at different sites in Charlevoix and Antrim counties. Each created in their own media sharing techniques with each other. Approximately 20 area artists participated.