(Kansas City, Missouri) - Gabriella Polony-Mountain is one of Kansas City's most talented and diverse artists, her bold, colorful body of work encompassing sculptures, mosaics, stained glass, repoussé, and weavings. Among her compositions was the mosaic floor of the old Main Library at 12th and McGee.
Still, her public profile remains low. Christian Cutler, director of the University of Central Missouri's Gallery of Art and Design, tells the fascinating story of the 96-year-old Hungarian émigré on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The presentation heralds the opening of an exhibit of Polony-Mountain's work in the new Rocky and Gabriella Mountain Gallery in the Central Library in early 2015.
Polony-Mountain studied law like her father and brother, but shifted her focus to art and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and in Rome. She arrived in America in 1951 with her first husband, their luggage, and $120 and soon was winning awards for her architectural commissions.
Examples of her commissioned architectural and other artwork can be found across the region - from Kansas City, Independence, St. Joseph, and the UCM campus in Warrensburg, Missouri, to Leawood, Mission Hills, and Leavenworth, Kansas. She designed the stained-glass windows in the chapel at Whiteman Air Force Base.
When a loss of strength in her hands made it difficult for her to work in other mediums, Polony-Mountain turned to a loom and weaving.
Cutler searched out her works at UCM a little more than a year after his arrival on campus in early 2012. "It was almost like an archeological dig. There were pieces we never knew existed," he recalls. "Meeting the artist was icing on the cake."
Cutler had served previously as the director of galleries at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.