Meet the Past: Thomas Hart Benton
Production for the Meet the Past television series continues in July with two programs taped before a live audience at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The series will air during prime-time on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.
Meet the Past features Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by veteran Chautauqua performers) with Kansas City-area connections.
Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Admission to all Meet the Past programs is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes each event. Click here or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.
On Tuesday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m., Doug Mishler portrays Thomas Hart Benton, the Missouri-born artist famous for his paintings showing ordinary people doing common things.
Born on April 15, 1889, in Neosho, Missouri, Benton drew and painted portraits, landscapes and scenes of people at work on farms, in factories, and in busy cities. Some of his best-known works are public murals. He eventually became the leader of a movement in American art known as regionalism. He spent much of his life in Kansas City and during the 1930s he taught at the Kansas City Art Institute.
One of his most famous murals, A Social History of Missouri, is installed in the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. He also has a mural located in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
Doug Mishler is an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Nevada and Western Washington University. He is the author of a history of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Since 1995, Mishler has appeared in various Chautauqua performances as P. T. Barnum, Theodore Roosevelt, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ford, Upton Sinclair, and George Wallace. He also portrays Ernie Pyle, Billy Sunday, William Clark, Andrew Carnegie, Jefferson Davis, and Edward R. Murrow. Mishler has a Ph.D. in American cultural history from the University of Nevada, Reno.