Looking Back – Art on the Road

They seem to go well together.

As many others do, Vivian and I travel in our home for reasons too many to count on two hands. But if there was only one reason, that would be enough reason to travel in an RV. Whatever the reason, traveling guarantees one new experience after another. Which brings me to this blog’s topic – ART.

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture can be experienced at Florida Southern College, the largest display of his work.
I wished I had recorded the title and artist name, but unfortunately I didn’t! This was a very large painting and despite all the bold colors and patterns, the three women’s faces commanded attention.
Pavement art making a statement at the Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery. This was once a bustling slave trade location and near the bus stop where Rosa Parks began her infamous bus ride.

Among the reasons we travel is an appreciation of art and artists. If you truly want to experience America in a meaningful way, seek out its artists. Better yet, open your mind and allow yourself to stumble upon them in the most unexpected places. That is where we have found our greatest joy in America’s hidden gems – the artists that make their communities and the world a better place. These include the vegetarian sheep farmer, the cowboy, the sharecropper who never learned to write her name, and all the other unknown artists out there.

The sculpture, titled “The Ancient Ones,” was created by Edward J. Fraughton in 2012 and can be seen at the Mesa Verde National Park Visitor Center.
 A small portion of the Gettysburg Cyclorama that is 377 feet long and 42 feet high. The culmination of the Gettysburg battle was captured on canvas by the French artist Paul Philippoteaux in 1882. If you visit Gettysburg National Battlefield, you cannot miss this amazing work.

It has been an endless journey of discovery. Some art was sought out, such as the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT or Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. But most was stumbled upon unexpectedly. Museums, roadside installations, murals, public art spaces, galleries – wherever we discovered art, we were also discovering America. Sounds corny, but it’s true. See for yourself.

On a Louisiana plantation, Clementine Hunter, a sharecropper and self-made artist created thousands of vibrant paintings depicting plantation life. You can visit Melrose Plantation and tour the grounds, including her small home where she painted.
Unbeknownst to us when we made a reservation at a campground near Benton, IL, that George Harrison’s sister lived there while her little brother was becoming a famous Beatle in Europe. Before the Beatles’ debut on the Ed Sullivan show, George came to Benton and visited his sister. The “George Comes to Benton – 1963” mural was created by California artist John Cerney and can be seen along I-57.

Among the happiest moments in our travels is when we come across art while driving down a road, or walking around a city or small town. Art for the passing tourists – a quick, but thought provoking impression. Usually we pause and consider the artists, what was their motivation or inspiration. Who is this unknown creator of things for people to enjoy or contemplate? Each photo of a piece of art we found serves to remind us of places we’ve been and the people we met. And for some reason, they almost always conjure up positive thoughts! We forget the uncomfortable weather, the horrible roads, unexpected RV repairs, the rising cost of everything. Art, among many other reasons, is why we keep it going. Enjoy these photos of art on the road.

This year, we spent many weeks in my home state of Michigan. We made it a point to stay in parts of the state unfamiliar to me, including the Grand Rapids area. It was here we learned about Art Prize. This was such a wonderful event, I wanted to highlight it here. Enjoy this slideshow of some of the art we enjoyed around downtown Grand Rapids.

You can read more our encounters with art in these previous blogs:

The Southern Renaissance

Art and Nature Florida Style

The Quirky, Creepy, Beautiful and Magnificent South Dakota

Two Artists, Two Monuments

Iowa, What’s Not to Like

6 thoughts on “Looking Back – Art on the Road

  1. Wow, you’ve found a lot of beautiful art! This post brought back many good memories of our travels having been to many of those sights. If you get a chance, google “Florida Highwaymen”. You’ll love the artwork.


  2. Amazing post! As always, love the photography, pictures, and narrative. Amazing the way so many artists point out issues of justice through their work. Love it!


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