Guests from Lee’s Summit and across the metro will have an opportunity to meet local artist, Pamela Covington, and view her paintings Oct. 19 during a Meet the Artist at City Hall event from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The city of Lee’s Summit has hosted Meet the Artist events approximately four times each year since 2006, displaying the work of more than 40 artists since the program launched.
“The arts contribute to our quality of life,” Lee’s Summit Mayor Pro Tem Rob Binney said. “You can have good schools and a good government but, as a city, we have made sure there’s also culture around us. It’s not just about bricks and mortar, or buildings and jobs.”
Meet the Artist at City Hall is just one of numerous arts-related programs and initiatives the city of Lee’s Summit has developed and supports.
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In the city’s culturally rich environment, many arts groups are growing and thriving — including the Lee’s Summit Symphony, the Summit Theatre Group, and others. The exhibit of Covington’s paintings, which begins Thursday, will add another brushstroke to the lively cultural arts picture in Lee’s Summit.
A painter for more than twenty years, Covington spent most of that time balancing the life of a business owner and artist. She began a new journey in 2006 after selling her successful hair salon, choosing instead to follow her passion and become a full-time painter.
“I made drastic changes and gave up living a successful life for a satisfying life,” Covington said. “A satisfied life is about your dreams. It’s not about what others think you should do. Artists walk a razor’s edge. It’s the story of so many of us out there. You have to make a living but also have a life doing what you are compelled and love to do.”
For Covington, the biggest challenge on this journey has been making ends meet. Her greatest joy?
“I wake up every morning and remember this is the path I committed to and I get really excited about it,” she said. “Painting takes me to a peaceful place where everything else falls away. It’s another way of existing in the world.”
Covington, a modern abstract painter, has developed her own unique visual voice.
“Painting is the outpouring and tactical expression of my soul,” she said. “The very essence of mixing the paint becomes the language. When I paint, I then speak the language to communicate with people.”
To speak this language, Covington’s work weaves together a range of styles from sleek and contemporary to rustic and organic. Working in oil on canvas, she constructs her paintings with brushes, palette knives, and other tools to build and create thick and thin layers of color.
“When someone looks at my paintings and has a reaction, I have a human connection with that person,” Covington said. “When someone looks at a painting longer than to take a selfie — yes, people use my work for selfie backgrounds — I may be standing 20 feet away, but we are communicating. We are having a conversation.”
During the past several years, Covington has shown her work at numerous juried shows, art fairs, and festivals.
The City Hall exhibit is the first time her work will be exhibited outside of these venues.
Covington said she is looking forward to having new conversations with an audience who may not have had an opportunity to see her work at previous art events.
One of the primary criteria for an artist to exhibit at Lee’s Summit City Hall is that they must have participated in a past juried art show.
Pat Manes, board member for Summit Art, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the arts, is primarily responsible for selecting artists for the events.
Manes attends area art shows and festivals in search of artists for the program and also reaches out to local artists, inviting them to show their work.
In addition, artists also approach City Hall and request to show their work. A selected artist’s work is exhibited for approximately three months and is typically available for purchase.
Along with the popular Meet the Artists program, the city of Lee’s Summit has numerous arts-related plans and projects in the works.
The Legacy Park Amphitheater, which was part of the city’s 2013 cultural arts initiative, is nearing completion.
The 1939 WPA Post Office is being renovated for the Lee’s Summit Historical Museum, and plans are in place for construction of an outdoor performance venue adjacent to City Hall.
Lee’s Summit also has budgeted for a full-time administrative employee who will oversee the city’s cultural arts programs and initiatives in 2017.
“The arts bring a richness and fullness to life,” Binney said. “As a city, we work together to make a better community, and the arts play a vital role. They also enhance quality of life for individuals and the community and create a sense of pride in the community.”
Fifteen of Covington’s oil paintings will be exhibited on the first floor of Lee’s Summit City Hall beginning Oct. 19. They will available to the general public to view and purchase.