Museum presentation to feature Polk County art history on Nov. 5

Published 2:16 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

COLUMBUS – On Saturday, November 5 at 10 a.m. folks can learn about art displayed at the Polk County History Museum in Columbus. The Polk County Historical Association possesses one of the best collections in the Carolinas of works by historic local artists, and by professionals who visited and painted scenes of the county.


Mike McCue, volunteer art advisor at Polk County Historical Association and author of several publications about local historic artists, will show and tell what’s on exhibit, and discuss the lives of people who created the artworks. The high quality of much of the museum’s art was a result of the area’s fine climate and scenery, which attracted professional artists from near and far. In the early 1900s there was even an “atelier” that trained artists, run by George Aid who had studied in France.

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Other famous county residents were Homer Ellertson who had trained in New York, painter Elisabeth Oliver who had been a curator at the High Museum in Atlanta, and locally-born painter Fred Reich who trained in Cincinnati. Lawrence Mazzanovich, the long-time Tryon resident, is considered the most important American Impressionist oil painter ever to have lived in the South. Numerous other first-rate artists lived here, came to stay for a while or returned seasonally to paint, creating an artists’ colony of national importance.


Program attendees are cordially invited to bring along any old artworks they possess that depict scenes in Polk County or its people. McCue will advise whether further research is needed, or determine on the spot the identity of the artist. There’s no charge for his counsel, and no charge to attend. The formal program will last one hour, and informal dialogue will continue until noon.


The History Museum is located in downtown Columbus at 60 Walker Street. 


Submitted by John Vining