artNotes from Hyde House: Along for the Ride and the Art around Small Town Mid-America


“Do you want to go for a ride?” my husband David asks when he calls before he heads home at the end of his work day.

I’ve been in my artCentral saddle all afternoon, lining out artCamp and the Membership Exhibition that’s poised for installation in the Hyde House galleries. For hours the cool breezes and the blue skies peeking through the big maple tree outside the window beside me have been messing with me—tug, tug, tugging at my attention as I sit type, type, typing at my keyboard.

Spring is happening fast. A person can stay inside only so long or these sweet, sweet days will be gone and past and missed without being fully savored before our Missouri heat descends. I’m gonna play hooky!!!! I’m going, going, gone for a ride! Already beginning to save my work that’s open on my computer screen, “I’ll be ready when you get here!” I answer David. “I’ll meet you out front!”


“Be sure to bring your helmet!” David tells me, “and think about something arty you want to see. I’ve got a couple of ideas.” He brings these with him when he pulls up on his vintage (1997) BMW 650 Enduro.

1)    Do I want to head west to the bridge we love over Center Creek where we always stop so I can photograph and we can turn off our engine and listen to the waters flowing, or

2)    Do I want to go east to Red Oak II and have an early evening look around?

I don’t know. I’m too early dinner hungry to make a choice, so we stop in at the art embellished Deli, place our order with ever-friendly Christina and Nathan Brown and sit in the sawed-in-two, chrome-loaded, fin-tailed, hot pink (’60?/’61?) Chrysler where we admire the fabulous hot pink colors of the potted bugambilia sitting in the giant picture window framing  a sumptuous view of our majestic Jasper County Courthouse.

The Carthage Deli has been a thriving part of the historic Carthage Square for over thirty-nine years.  Located on the square’s northwest corner in the old Bank of Carthage building, the 50’s-60’s décor—everything from dance hall signage to a genuine DX Boron fuel pump reading “33-9/10 cents per gallon” and a drive-in theater speaker on a stanchion—makes the Deli a favorite stop for us and Route 66 travelers, too.

Our wait on the Chrysler’s bench seats was brief, but did we really order all the food that’s delivered to our table? A grilled Reuben to share (another as a half-price special to take home), two bags of chips (sea salt are our faves), a complimentary Tuesday brownie with colorful sprinkles, two of Christina’s homemade, mouth-watering cookies, two pieces of homemade pie—crusted cherry and creamy mint chocolate—because we couldn’t decide, two cappuccinos in clear glass mugs and a cappuccino ice cream shake topped with a scarlet stemmed cherry for David. Oh, my! Oh, my! How we do like to eat!

We finish up and pack our take home in the motorcycle carrier, strap on helmets and off we go….but I’m running out of word space to tell of our remarkable art adventuring. Our destination story will have to wait for a future Art Notes.

Today I want to tell you about another dining-and-art-viewing favorite this coming week. The exciting artCentral 2019 Membership Picnic and Exhibition will open Friday, May 31, 2019, with a celebratory feast beneath the beautiful canopy of old growth trees on the lawn of Hyde House backdropped by the enchanting artist murals painted on artCentral’s Great Wall including the newest mural by aspiring young artists at artCamp.

This is a much anticipated annual happening when the artist members of artCentral really strut their stuff and artCentral supporting patrons turn out to celebrate the wealth of talent that is artCentral. If you’re not already an artCentral member come to the party anyway! We’ll be happy to sign you up for a membership. The festivities commence at 6:00 p.m. with an al fresco spread at $5.00 for a dinner to best any other you’ll locally source. The tastiest fried chicken in all of Carthage will be the catered entrée from Sirloin Stockade complimented with sides and desserts brought by artCentral members who are definitely among the best of all regional cooks.

As the partaking and visiting wind down the evening’s big excitement will crank up with the announcement of the art and artists tapped for special recognition and receipt of generous cash prizes by artCentral’s distinguished jurors—our Carthage hero and famous watercolorist, Jerry Ellis, and Beth Simmons, Director of the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation and an avid art collector with an astute eye for distinctive creativity.

This stunning exhibition is made possible by the generous underwriting of the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation.

Take your own arty ride to artCentral, and you’ll see why our excited anticipation is on the rise about art in our small town in mid-America!


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