‘Minds of Many’ art exhibit opens to public

Published 9:51 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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On the night of Friday, Sept. 1st, there was a grand opening in downtown Winchester.

Inside the historic McEldowney Building located on Cleveland Avenue, “The Minds of Many” art exhibit – showing works of more than 80 artists from the community, including stained glass, blown glass, sculptures, handmade baskets, graphite pencil drawings and more – opened for visitors to walk through and view for the first time.

“The goal of today’s event is to make art accessible to downtown Winchester. We want Winchester to be thought of as a cultural arts center of the Bluegrass,” said Kenny Howard, president of the Winchester Art Guild. “This gallery is the first public gallery in Winchester.”

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The art exhibit occurs in coordination with the opening of a new community gallery space, The Gallery Above, and will remain through Sept. and Oct. 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Initially hoping to get approximately sixty artists, staff from the Winchester Art Guild – to their excitement – received much more.

Eighty-eight artists submitted works for display, with pieces taken as late as last Thursday.

Jeffrey Hale, who co-owns Mason on Main and played an essential role in the exhibit’s development, spoke.

“I would have to say that I’m beyond pleased because this hasn’t been just something that I did. It’s something that took a lot of different people,” Hale said. “That was my original goal in calling it ‘The Minds of Many’ because it does take a lot of people to make your community thrive.”

Among the artists was Jon Paul Martin, owner of Whiskey and Wiles Photography.

Titled “Sundown,” Martin submitted a photo on canvas featuring the silhouette of a cowboy on horseback as the sun went down behind him.

“It’s a little bit different for me to do something like that…that was just my first [attempt] at producing art with that photography,” Martin said.

Suez Early, another local artist, participated as well.

Not only was her work, “Head Trip” – featuring a mask of her face with maps cut up and strategically placed on it – fully displayed, but Early appeared on what also happened to be her birthday.

“Art’s kind of my life. This is what I do,” Early said. “It’s a good time for everybody.”

Those who attended the event enjoyed additional sights like a multi-colored horse statue and treats provided by Amy’s Asian Kitchen, Cupcake Apothecary, The Engine House, Beech Spring Farm Market and more.

In some cases, exciting surprises were in store.

On the suggestion of a friend, local resident Larry Disney attended the event.

While there, he found an acrylic painting by fellow resident Linda Caudill featuring a friend he’s become all too familiar with.

“I’m just wandering around and all of a sudden see my dog. That’s my dog…in the [painting],” Disney said, noting that his dog is a springer spaniel.

With much that has taken place in preparation for the event, the Winchester Art Guild expresses gratitude to Adam Kidd – owner of the McEldowney Building.

“Adam has been phenomenal in getting this [place] restored,” Howard said. “Adam had cleaners and plumbers and painters and electricians in here all the way up to today.”

Many of those in attendance looked forward to the prospect of future opportunities for art in Winchester.

“I think a vibrant community of art is a thriving community,” Disney added.