Collecting art is uplifting for Sedalia resident Sylvia Hopkins. Since 1981 she has amassed approximately 50 original pieces with many coming from student art shows at State Fair Community College.
Hopkins a fabric artist, photographer and former docent at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art on the campus of SFCC, said she only buys art that she enjoys.
She recently invited Daum Museum Director Tom Piché to her home to see the collection.
“He said ‘it just works,’” she noted. “Every room has something in it.”
Her first purchased piece, from the SFCC student show, features paper tiles that have the edges burned and then painted. The tiles were assembled into an nonobjective wall hanging that is displayed in a hallway between her kitchen and living room.
A second student piece is a ceramic coil pot, sitting on a pedestal in her living room, created in 1985 by Vita Lux, of Sedalia.
“It’s so beautiful,” Hopkins said. “I think, she had such a talent, she had a one woman show and it was over in the (SFCC) library.”
The 2016 SFCC Student Art Show will open April 14. Hopkins plans to attend, but said buying something depends on her taste.
“I only buy things I like, which is what everyone should do,” she said. “I don’t have any thoughts about them increasing in value, I only buy them because I like them.
“I can’t honestly say what I’m going to like,” she added. “I just depends … I don’t think there’s a year gone by that I haven’t bought something. Anything we can do to help the students. I’ve noticed it’s been such a huge boost to have the Daum Museum for them to be inspired by.”
Hopkins added that she has lived in the area since 1978 and has seen how much SFCC art students have progressed with their work since the Museum was established.
“I’ve noticed a huge, huge difference in the quality of the artwork that students now produce,” she said.
Hopkins added when she purchases art it must create emotion.
“Some of the students are more mature, such as Betty Gray,” she added. “She was the librarian at Smith-Cotton (High School) and when she retired as librarian she took art classes with Barbara Cooney.”
Hopkins purchased one of Gray’s pieces. The piece that has an Asian style, won an honorable mention at the Missouri State Fair.
“She was very well known in Sedalia,” Hopkins said.
A large colorful paper and acrylic painting that hangs over the fireplace in the living room was created by SFCC art student Anne Hassell in 2004.
“It’s a lovely piece,” Hopkins noted. “There’s collage on it, she has tissue paper and she’s manipulated it. It could almost be like an underwater scene or a garden scene.”
A large piece, created by SFCC student Lexie Holloway in 2011, hanging on a side wall of Hopkins’s living room looks like ceramic. “Soft Devotion” is actually made with fabric arranged in a waved and textured fashion.
“This girl is brilliant,” Hopkins said. “She wrote me this lovely letter.”
Hopkins decided to purchase Holloway’s piece from the student show, but it was purchased by the college. So, she commissioned Holloway to create another similar fabric piece.
“She went home and made this one,” Hopkins said. “I absolutely love it.”
She also has several mixed media pieces from SFCC student Keith Young who is now attending the Kansas City Art Institute.
“I was attending a concert at the college one evening and was wandering around before it started,” she said. “There was this whole hallway full of Keith Young’s art. I just went nuts over it.”
In her collection she has one of Young’s large paintings titled “Blue Nude” plus several paper wrapped collage columns and cylinders in her dinning room and in an upstairs bedroom. Young often uses such items as newspaper clipping, doilies, bubble wrap and wallpaper in his work.
“I think it looks wonderful in this room,” she added. “The ‘Blue Nude’ is a spectacular piece. I had to talk him into selling that to me. He didn’t want to sell it.”
Young’s collage style artwork was shown at the Leedy Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City in 2013.
Also in her dining room sitting on a buffet table are a large glazed earthenware snail, created by student Lee Kramp in 2015, and a smiling, mustached cupcake created by another student in 2014.
“These two ceramic pieces are two of my most recent pieces from the college,” Hopkins said.
The reason she purchased the large mustachioed cupcake, with a broad toothy smile, was because it reminded her of her grandfather.
“The reason I bought it was because when I was a little girl living in Germany, with my family after the war, my grandparents used to write us notes,” she said. “My grandfather didn’t write the letter, my grandmother did, but he would do a little caricature at the bottom of the letter.
“It looked exactly like this, a funny little face with funny teeth,” she added. “It reminded me so much of my grandfather. I love it.”
Hopkins said it is difficult to decide on a favorite piece in her collection.
“I don’t know if I have a favorite piece,” she said thoughtfully. “I like them all, for various different reasons. They all have a story. They either have a story as to why I bought them or else they create an emotion in me that I just love.”
Joy is the crux of the matter for Hopkins when purchasing art.
“It makes me happy,” she said of her collection. “Every time I look at it, I see something else in it. It’s simulating. I walk downstairs every morning in my house and it’s just fabulous.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; photos by Faith Bemiss | Democrat