"Art in the Winner's Circle"
Selected Student Artwork from the
Kentucky Derby Museum
Liesl Long Chaintreuil
Paintings & Prints
|KENTUCKY EMPLOYEES CREDIT UNION
100 MOORE DRIVE
FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY 40601
M-Th 8am-5pm, F 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
ABOUT THE GALLERY
The Jane Chancellor Moore Gallery is an
alternative art space operating since 2004 in
the lobby of Kentucky Employees Credit
Union in Frankfort, Kentucky, hosted by the
credit union and curated by Larry W. Moore
for Broadstone Media LLC.
The gallery provides an opportunity to see
and purchase original art in a variety of
mediums created by local and regional
artists both new and established.
In addition to the current show, we carry
works on consignment by many of our
artists, including Stephanie Potter, Rhett L
Beck, Joan Schulte, Melanie Sunbeam Smith,
Jamie Sheppard, Marta Dorton, Les
Greeman, Lloyd Kelly, and Susan Moore.
For information on purchasing art or
exhibiting in the gallery, contact us at our
Broadstone Media LLC
418 Ann Street
Frankfort, Ky 40601-1929
This show comes ten years after Melanie Sunbeam Smith's first appearance in the gallery,
and it is joy to once again host the work of a very special artist and friend, who taught me
so much about art and life.
When I first met Mel (as she was known to her legion of friends around the world), the
rheumatoid arthritis with which she was afflicted for most of her life had already taken a
substantial toll on her mobility and dexterity. She had lost one leg, which kept her bed-
bound most days, and her hands were little more than claws. I had missed the years
during which she had been a weaver and painter, let alone her early days as a musician,
but even so she was still producing a prodigious amount of art, in the form of the collages
she made from papers and fabrics and scraps, her studio all around her in bed. She could
simply NOT stop making art, no matter what limitations her deteriorating body imposed on
her. She just changed from medium to medium and got on with it. As it happened, I last
saw her just a few weeks before she died, and she told me “If I ever get to where I can't
make art, I'm finished.” She was still making art until the end.
I had the privilege of going through Mel's artwork with her friend and heir Durella
Rodriguez, and when we came upon the “Bird & Bela” series, which Mel had left
unfinished and never exhibited, we knew we had found something very special. I'm
delighted to get to share it with our gallery visitors. It's a special gift for this season of
giving, a burst of light and color during the dark of winter. Enjoy!
Larry W. Moore, curator
OUR GALLERY MISSION
"In our experience as gallery curators, we have
found that the introduction of the right work of art
into a person's home or life can, and has, added
immeasurably to the quality of some of our patron’s
lives. Even those simply passing by and viewing
have told us how much they appreciate our shows.
It is part of our gallery philosophy that art is
incomplete until it is seen and appreciated. The role
of Broadstone Gallery is to find the artists, display
their works, and give those who might appreciate
their art a chance to see it.
To us, art represents not only beauty, but hope and
optimism. Especially in these distressed times, art
is an important reminder that these are still part of
the human spirit. We hope to be able to continue to
foster it for a long time to come.
Thanks to our artists, our patrons and especially to
our gracious hosts at KECU for their support."
Jane Chancellor Moore (1951-2010)
Jane Chancellor Moore was the principal
curator of Broadstone Gallery from its opening
until her untimely death in the spring of 2010, at
which time KECU renamed the gallery in her
honor. Jane is pictured in the photo above, in the
center in the background. That was appropriate,
for while she was very much the center of
everything we did at Broadstone, she also
preferred to remain in the background. For more
photos and information about Jane, please click
here to visit our memorial page.
This exhibition presents a remarkable series of works by the late Kentucky artist Melanie
Sunbeam Smith. The series was inspired by Don Sebesky’s “Bird and Bela in Bb,” as
recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on his album Three Works for Jazz Soloists
& Symphony Orchestra (1979). However, all of Melanie’s titles for these works omitted
the flat sign, and in putting together this series for exhibition we determined to follow her
lead in calling it simply Bird & Bela in B. Why did she do this? Who knows – perhaps
she preferred the alliteration. Certainly it wasn’t out of any lack of knowledge of musical
notation, since her first artistic ambition was to have been a concert pianist, before the
onset of rheumatoid arthritis in her late teens forced her to switch to the visual arts. But it
would have been like Melanie to do her own thing.
Obviously Sebesky’s work meant something special to Melanie. Not that it was unusual
for her to create art from musical inspiration. Throughout her career she made a myriad of
such works, including several large-scale weavings. However, this series appears to be
unique among her output, for her to have devoted the time to creating ten pieces based on
this single theme. We don’t know for sure what drew her to this composition with such
sustained focus and determination, but it is fun to speculate that at least in part it was
because she had a very special relationship with the jazz bassist Richard Davis, who
played on this recording. But aside from any personal connection, Melanie had a lifelong
and deeply informed passion for music, especially for jazz and classical works. So, it isn’t
surprising she would have been drawn to Sebesky’s fusion of the two in this recording that
the composer described as “A musical account of an imaginary meeting between Charlie
‘Bird’ Parker and Bela Bartok in the form of a concerto for jazz quintet and orchestra.”
The connection between music and vision in Melanie’s art is an expression of a rare
condition – in her case, a gift – as it appears likely she experienced chromesthesia, a sort
of cross-wiring of the senses in which sound is perceived visually. Thus when we look at
her music-inspired works, we get a sense of how music appeared to her visually in form
and color. What an amazing world, and what a joy that we can share in it!
We know that Melanie did not consider these works finished, based on notes on the backs
of some referencing her intention to add further detail in pencil and perhaps other
mediums. But this was never to be. We assume she was unable to carry out her plans due
to the progression of her rheumatoid arthritis, which gradually reduced her dexterity. But
we have elected to present them as they are, finished as they now can ever be, for the
quality of the work speaks for itself. It also speaks of the struggle and the triumph of a
very special artist and person whom we were blessed to call friend. It is our privilege to
share Melanie Sunbeam Smith’s vision with you.
This show is made possible through the generosity of Durella Rodriguez, Melanie’s life-
long friend and heir, and we are very grateful to her for sharing Melanie’s work with us.
Melanie Sunbeam Smith grew up in the Woodford County, Kentucky community of
Duckers.Originally a student of music, she switched to fine arts in college after the onset
of rheumatoid arthritis at age sixteen. She earned a BFA at Western Kentucky University
and worked as an artist in Manhattan before returning to her family home in Kentucky,
where she continued to produce art expressing her passion for music in a wide range of
mediums, until her death in 2011.
|Bird & Bela in B
Works on Paper by
MELANIE SUNBEAM SMITH
December 2017 - February 2018