Clarksville, TN – Every year for Flying High, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s largest fundraising gala, one local artist is commissioned to be the “Signature Artist” to produce a unique and original work of art to be sold as the highlight of the event’s live auction.
This year, recently-returned Clarksvillian Kitty Harvill has provided an emotionally-charged watercolor that makes a lasting impression, while also paying homage to her mother’s legacy with the Museum.
On June 23rd, Kitty and the Museum’s Executive Director Frank Lott unveiled Peg’s Pony for the first time in front of Flying High sponsors, Museum members, other contributing artists and eager enthusiasts. The painting represents the Postmaster’s Office of Clarksville’s U.S. Post Office & Customs House built-in 1898.
Kitty’s painting was inspired by a black-and-white photograph from the Museum pictorial archives. She selected local people as models, along with a 1938 photo of her mother as a child, to recreate a scene of a family visiting the Postmaster in the late 1930s – the last years of the building’s service as a Post Office & Customs House.
“I know of no other paintings of the building’s interior of this time period, and my goal is to have marked a historic moment in time of Clarksville’s rich history,” explains Kitty.
Kitty began as an oil painting artist, but after taking a class at Austin Peay State University taught by professor Max Hochstetler, Kitty fell in love with a different medium – watercolor.
She later moved to Brazil with her husband Christoph, and after two years of photographing nature and wildlife, Kitty’s artwork bloomed with those subjects, as did her personal dedication to conservation.
Along with her husband, she founded Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN), a group for artists to create artwork in collaboration with biologists and organizations worldwide working for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems, with 40 projects completed to date on every continent.
Earlier this month, Kitty was recognized for her artistic contributions to nature and wildlife with Artists for Conservation’s (AFC’s) top honor worldwide: the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award. This award has become the world’s most prestigious conservation award for visual artists.
“Kitty is a dear friend to this Museum and she’s really captured not only the essence of life within our building long before we became a Museum, but also the legacy of her mother’s relationship with this institution,” says Lott. “We know whoever wins the bidding for this masterpiece will feel honored to own this important local treasure.” Flying High attendees will have the chance to bid on this exceptional work of art as the final item for sale at the gala’s live auction.
Tickets are still available to attend the James Bond-inspired event called “Live and Let Fly.” The event is on Saturday, July 16th, beginning at 5:00pm at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel. The Museum Guild hosts a glamorous night of cocktails, dinner, silent and live auction, and dancing for their largest fundraising night of the year.
Support the Museum’s mission by purchasing tickets and bidding on standout auction items donated by many Clarksville businesses, local area artists, and more. Tickets are available on the Museum’s website or at Seasons: The Museum Store.
About the Customs House Museum
Located in the heart of historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is the State’s second largest general museum. The original portion of the building was constructed in 1898 as a U.S. Post Office and Customs House for the flourishing tobacco trade. Incorporating a number of architectural styles, the original structure is one of the most photographed buildings in the region.
With over 35,000 square feet of the region’s best hands-on activities and special events…people of all ages agree – the Customs House Museum is well worth the stop!
The Explorer’s Gallery is packed with fun, learning and fantasy in Aunt Alice’s Attic, McGregor’s Market and kitchen, and of course – the Bubble Cave! Finally, get “all aboard” to see our fantastic model trains. Our volunteer engineers “ride the rails” every Sunday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
Regular museum hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays. Adult admission is $7.00, Senior Citizens and College ID $5.00, Ages 6 to 18 $3.00, and under six years and Museum members are free.
The Customs House Museum is located at 200 South Second Street. For more information, call 931.648.5780 or visit their website at www.customshousemuseum.org