"Hubbard Symposium"

Boone County, Ky., Library to hold Hubbard event in March

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

March in Boone County will be an ideal time and location for Harlan and Anna Hubbard fans to experience the couple’s lifestyle and beliefs.

The Boone County Public Library is planning an exhibit called “An Artful Way of Life: Kentucky’s Own Harlan and Anna Hubbard.” The exhibition will kick off on Saturday, March 1, with a special symposium and will run through the month.

Saturday’s symposium will consist of several speakers and video documentary screenings. The exhibit itself will showcase different examples of Harlan’s artwork, including oil paintings, watercolors and woodcuts.

This event is co-sponsored by Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, Ky. It is donating some paintings to the exhibit. Other works will come from the collection of Bill Caddell, who was a close friend of the Hubbards and now lives in Frankfort, Ind.

Representatives from the Baker Hunt Foundation and the Behringer-Crawford Museum are scheduled to participate in the library, although Adult Program Coordinator Collin Taylor invites other groups who have connections or interests in the Hubbards to attend to pass out information on their work.

The public library has rotating events. This past winter, the theme was arts and crafts. For the spring, the theme is nature, so a Harlan Hubbard exhibit transitions perfectly between the two themes, Taylor said.

Laurie Risch, executive director of the Behringer-Crawford Museum, is helping with the event. In 1986, Harlan Hubbard donated some of his artwork to the museum. Since then, the organization has worked to build their collection, Risch said. “I believe we’re the largest public holder of Harlan’s works,” she said.

The museum used to have a gallery reserved solely for Hubbard’s art, but now his paintings are incorporated throughout the museum.

Both Risch and Taylor said they were confident about the outcome of the symposium and exhibition at the library. “It should be a resounding success,” Risch said. “Harlan has a following.”

Taylor first became interested in the Hubbards after reading Wendell Berry, who wrote a biography called “Harlan Hubbard: Life and Work.” “It’s possible to live a civilized and elegant lifestyle without conveniences,” Taylor said.

Although both Harlan and Anna are deceased, many enthusiasts remain intrigued with the couple’s ideas, lives and works. People often draw connections between Harlan and transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau, who retreated for about two years to Walden Pond, Risch said.

“In today’s hustle and bustle, why can’t we turn the clock back?” she asked. “Hopefully, the symposium and exhibition at the library will inspire both dreams and a greater understanding of the Hubbards’ lives, Risch said.

“That’s what history is – understanding the past and taking it for the present and future,” she said.

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