2007-04-06 / News

Museum director encounters art by Tom Feeling and Tyrone Geter in Cincinnati

By Rachel Haynie

By Rachel Haynie

Columbia Museum of Art Director Karen Brosius, attended a board meeting of the national Institute of Museums and Libraries. When she was being shown around Cincinnati for a look at the city's art, the last thing Brosius expected to see was Columbia art showcased in such a grand way.

"We were touring the Underground Railroad and Freedom Center when I realized the huge mural we were looking at was by Tom Feelings and Tyrone Geter. It is a very narrative kind of art piece. Columbia is so well represented in this institution," said Brosius.

Geter, director of Benedict College's Stanbeck Gallery, said he was drawn into the project as the Freedom Center prepared to open five years ago. "(The late) Tom had been working on the mural when he became ill. We had been friends since Columbus (Ohio) through a children's books awards event where we were both being honored for our art. That was years before I came to Columbia. We became better friends after I got here."

Feelings' health was failing. Geter said, "I had been going to see him in the hospital, but this particular time, he called for me to come see him for a specific reason. He did not believe he would be able to complete the mural and said I was the person who knew the most about it, and was the person he thought of as being most involved in drawing. He wanted me to finish it."

Geter's wife suffered a stroke from which she did not recover. Then Geter underwent triple by- pass heart surgery. "Promising Tom pulled me back to art when I really didn't feel I could do it," recalled Geter. "The people in Cincinnati even offered to get someone else to finish it, but I had promised,"said Geter.

As Brosius continues her service on this national board, she says she becomes increasingly aware of the role museums and libraries play in lifelong learning.

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