HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Dozens of prints depicting rural life are now on display at the Burrow Museum in an exhibition entitled “Days Gone By.”
The exhibition is on loan to the museum from Grover and Irma Reeves of Vinemont, who have been collecting prints that remind them of the past and, in some cases, their own life for about 10 years. Their daughter Jeanne, who works for Cotton Incorporated, would attend conferences where one of their favorite artists would be selling prints. She would buy some of those prints and introduced her parents to his work.
The Reeves then started purchasing watercolor prints for themselves and to donate for fundraisers for the Soil and Water Conservation District, for which Mr. Reeves served as supervisor of the Cullman County office and as president of the Alabama Association of Conservation District Supervisors. Their collection includes prints by Jack C. DeLoney, Clara Thomas, Joe Belt, Ronald Ragland, M. Hartsfield and Connie McDonald.
For a while, the prints hung on the walls in various offices at the Cullman County Courthouse, where Mr. Reeves worked during his time with the Cullman County Soil and Water Conservation District. Reeves said when the SWCD planned to move to new offices, they contacted him about what to do with the prints. He decided to retrieve them and offered them to Wallace State for an exhibit. Now all of the prints are gathered at the Evelyn Burrow Museum on the Wallace State campus.
“I decided to call this collection ‘Days Gone By’ because that is exactly what these prints show,” said Donny Wilson, director of the Burrow Museum. “There are images of farmers bringing their cotton crops to the gin, rural landscapes and scenes we don’t often see anymore in this fast-paced world.”
One of Mr. Reeves favorite prints is one entitled “Solitude” by DeLoney. The print is a winter rural landscape that features leafless trees, their bare limbs reaching toward the sky, and two old barns. Mrs. Reeves favorite is one called “Sunday Morning,” also by DeLoney, and is a scene showing a church as the parishioners leave the morning service. Several of DeLoney’s grandchildren are depicted in the scene, said Mrs. Reeves.
Ironically, not even one of their prints hangs on the walls of their home, as the Reeves prefer to share the art with others. That selflessness is not uncommon of the couple, especially Mr. Reeves who is know for his acts of kindness in the community.
As a member of the Lions Club, Reeves assisted in many fundraisers for the organization, including helping implement the organization’s annual fish fry. For almost 20 years, Reeves has helped provided Thanksgiving Day meals for those might otherwise go without. He’s served as a missionary and assisted with other fundraisers in Cullman County and the state when he saw a need.
The Reeves collection will be on display at the Evelyn Burrow Museum through Sept. 30, 2014. For more information or to schedule a tour, call Wilson at 256.352.8457 or visit www.burrowmuseum.org. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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