Ruth Teal Cooper (1926-1973) was an artist and arts instructor in McDowell County throughout the 1950s and 60s.
She was an active advocate for arts education, taught art at McDowell Junior High, adult arts education at MTCC (on State Street), and private classes for adults and children in her home on Park Avenue. She was also an original member of MACA its founding year, 1972.
She was a private student of Freda Widder Ledford and Eugene Healan Thomason.
She passed at age 47, in 1973, leaving a rich legacy of art and arts education in McDowell County.
Seven years after her passing Mr. Walker J. Cooper (Ruth's husband) hosted "The Ruth Teal Retrospective Exhibit" in spring of 1980 to celebrate her art and life.
This was also the formal opening of the McDowell Arts Center Gallery at 101 West Court St (we've moved a few times). There are a few Polaroid photos below where a photo of the painting of Mr. Barn's Barn can be seen hanging in this show.
In Fall of 2022, our friend Patin Howard gifted MACA four original RTC paintings for our Permanent Collection. One of those paintings was Mr. Barn's Barn, a 1958 oil, which happened to have a provence in our records from that 1980 gallery show.
We hope to share more with you as we find out more ourselves about the legacy of art that shapes who we are and where we are going. Thank you Ruth, for bringing art education to McDowell County Schools.
Below is a photo of "Mr. Barn's Barn" Ruth Teal Cooper, 1958. Oil on masonite. 12x16. From the MACA Permanent Collection. A gift from Patin Howard, 2022.
You can visit it in-person any day that MACA is open mcdowellarts.org
MACA Arts Archive, 2023. AAB.
"Conquering Heroes" is a 1989 signed lithograph print of an original watercolor work by Hoyt Reel (1926-2012) of Marion, NC and Dumfries, VA.
Hoyt grew up in his mother's boarding house on South Madison Street, in Downtown Marion, where he is said to have been a paperboy for the Marion Progress Newspaper.
In that same house, Hoyt met his future wife: Ann Sprouse. Ann rented a room from Hoyt's mother, Eula Reel, while working in town as a court stenographer. Mrs. Reel did not abide a household living in sin, so it wasn't long before the couple married.
They were married on the CBS Television show "Bride and Groom" in late summer of 1953. In the CBS program, couples for the episode would be introduced and interviewed. A vocalist would sing a song for them, and a short wedding ceremony would take place.
Through his marriage, Hoyt gained Nora Sprouse Worthen (1943-2022) as a sister-in-law.
Hoyt was an active member of the American Whitewater Association and kayaked extensively throughout Virginia and West Virginia. He is remembered fondly by the canoeing and kayak communities as a great friend, mentor, and paddler.
His exploits are captured through his beautiful watercolor works, one of which landed the cover of the American Whitewater Association magazine.
Hoyt Reel sold prints of his original paintings through his retirement project: Possum Point Production, Inc. of Nebo.
Before his passing in 2012, Hoyt Reel left his remaining proofs, lithographs, postcards, and prints to his sister-in-law Nora and her husband, Richard Worthen (himself a talented woodworker and lace maker) of Brackett Town.
Nearly 10 years later, during the time of Nora's declining health in early 2021, she and Richard gifted Hoyt's remaining works to McDowell Arts Council Association. The callily jardiniere that we have on display (next to Hoyt's work) in MACA's Permanent Collection also belonged to Nora.
We feel so fortunate to hold the physical collection of these proofs and lithos. You can visit "Conquering Heroes" anytime MACA is open and look through the flip-book of Hoyt's work in MACA's Permanent Collection.
MACA Arts Archive, 2021-2023
McDowell Arts Council Association
The arts are for everyone.
MCDOWELL ARTS COUNCIL ASSOCIATION Street Address: 50 S MAIN ST MARION NC Mailing Address: PO BOX 1387 Phone Number: 828-652-8610 Text Accessible Google Number: 828-559-1404