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Far Away and Close to Home: The Art and Words of Author/Illustrator Rhea Wells

February 12 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

From the Austrian Alps, to the coast of Sicily, to a villagein Spain, words and art have the power to transport us around the world.  They also have the power to bring us backhome to a farm in Washington County, Tennessee. Children’s book author/illustrator Rhea Wells ventured far and widethroughout his life, but he always held his hometown of Jonesborough near anddear to his heart.  Wells’ work will beshowcased in the exhibit Far Away and Close to Home: The Art and Words ofAuthor/Illustrator Rhea Wells which will be on display at the McKinney Centerat Booker T. Washington School from January 26 through February 23.  The exhibit will be open to the public from9-5 Monday-Friday and 10-3 on Saturday.  FarAway and Close to Home is presented by the Heritage Alliance and is funded inpart by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of theNational Endowment for the Humanities.


Far Away and Close to Home will feature artwork from Wells’art school portfolio, as well as illustrations from some of his books.  What types of styles did Wells practice within art school?  How did these early works,never before displayed in public, influence the rich illustrations that filledWells’ later books?  What parts of hischildhood in Washington County did he write about, and where did hisinspiration for Beppo the Donkey and Ali the Camel come from?  Wells was writing in the 1920s and 1930s,when the field of children’s literature was just developing.  What is his legacy as an author?  What is his legacy to Jonesborough, and doesit still stand today?  The answer to thesequestions and more can be found in Far Away and Close to Home in the McKinneyCenter, and in a companion exhibit on Wells’ life in theJonesborough/Washington County History Museum at the Jonesborough Visitor’sCenter.


A series of programs are planned around the exhibit,beginning with an opening night reception and art/history talk at 6:30 onJanuary 26 at the McKinney Center. Children will be able to make and illustrate their own books at the JonesboroughLibrary on Saturday, February 3.  To carryon Wells’ tradition of advocacy for libraries and literacy, the HeritageAlliance will host a panel discussion with local librarians and educators onFebruary 16 at 6:30 at the McKinney Center.   Wells was a community builder, and Far Awayand Close to Home is a partnership with the McKinney Center and the Town ofJonesborough, the Reece Museum at ETSU and the Jonesborough PublicLibrary.  We hope that Wells’ art andbooks will help to inspire a new generation of authors, illustrators, artists,and readers.


The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation ofthe architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and toproviding educational experiences related to history and heritage for a widerange of audiences.  For moreinformation, please call our office at 423.753.9580.  You can contact the organization via email atinfo@heritageall.org.  Additional information can also be foundonline at http://www.heritageall.org/.


February 12
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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