News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 17, 2013

Center presents ‘Watercolor to War Birds’

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News Release

PARIS, ILL. — The Bicentennial Art Center in Paris, Ill., announces its first exhibit of 2013.  

“Photography by Doug Bibo” and “Watercolor to War Birds = Works by Eugene V. Smith” opened on Tuesday. The opening reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday will include a brief talk at 5:30.

The exhibit contains a large number of photographs by Bibo, who grew up in an Air Force family and spent his early years moving around the country. His family’s roots, however, are in Paris, so when his father retired, they moved back to Paris where Bibo graduated from high school in 1975.

He then received a business degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. After working in restaurant management for a couple of years, he relocated to California to study at Brooks Institute of Photography.

Since 2000 Bibo has been a staff member at the Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, managing one of the college’s photo facilities and teaching classes.

Bibo has been photographing ghost towns and ruins, places he finds intriguing because they are links to our cultural past. His photographs are done in a unique style.

The rest of the gallery is filled with paintings and sketches by Eugene V. Smith. Smith was born in 1929. He lived on his grandparents’ farm and had a dream of becoming a comic strip artist. He spent many hours of his free time coloring and drawing.

Smith majored in economics and minored in art and earned his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and master’s degree at Trinity University.

After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served for five years during the Korean War. While in the Air Force he had the opportunity to paint the walls of day rooms with his perceptions of the iron eagles known as the warbirds.

He had a passion for airplanes and wanted to become a pilot. However, his vision prevented him from fulfilling that dream. After his military service, he returned to school and earned a doctorate in sociology at Purdue University. He taught at various universities and in 1967 came to Indiana State University.

His creativity was expressed through art and music. He drew comic strips and illustrated children’s books. He created artistic renditions of the Great Warbirds of World War II.

Smith never publicly exhibited his works and he died in 2009. His wife, Kathleen, has preserved his paintings. Besides warbirds, Smith used music, people and buildings as subject matter in his paintings.

The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 15.

Regular art center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; or call 217-466-8130 to schedule a time to view the exhibit.

The art center is at 132 S. Central Ave., in Paris.