|The Stone City Art Colony and School 1932-1933
Marion Gilmore Hulse
Marion Gilmore Hulse (1909-1984) - student
A lifelong resident of Ottumwa, Iowa, Marion Gilmore began her art career with classes at the University of Kentucky, where a former local art teacher was head of the campus art department. After moving to New York City, she pursued art studies at the Art Students League and the Phoenix Art Institute, where she focused on commercial art. At the latter, Gilmore studied from 1931-32 under Norman Rockwell and other popular artists. She attended the Stone City Art Colony during its first summer in 1932.
Following night classes at the American Academy in Chicago (1937) and additional instruction at the Art Institute of Chicago, Gilmore won the WPA commission to produce a mural for the town of Corning, Iowa. The jury, led by former Stone City faculty member Edward Rowan, demanded that Gilmore's image only contain actual architecture and landmarks in the downtown district. Her mural, “Band Concert,” won the federal-sponsored Forty-Eight States design competition of 1939 and depicts a summer band concert in a small, Iowa community. Upon its completion, Rowan demanded that Gilmore remove two objects (a cannon and an obelisk) from the image; Gilmore made the changes to accommodate the WPA requirement. However, she also made other, minor landscaping changes, portraying the town in a sentimental light. Considered a tremendous success by the local citizens, the mural was installed in 1941. Gilmore continued to exhibit professionally, including the Iowa Art Salon (1938).
Gilmore eventually moved to New York City, married, and after World War II, began using a variation of her married name ("Mion Hulse") and abandoned the use of her birth name for signed works. It is speculated that due to the then-art community's reluctance to celebrate talented, female artists, Gilmore adopted a gender-neutral name for her later exhibitions. Among her many honors are several Iowa Art Salon awards and the winning commission for the Corydon, Iowa Post Office, entitled “Volunteer Fire Department” (1942). Gilmore remained active in local art and music organizations, including the Ottumwa Art Club and the Southeast Iowa Symphony. She died in Ottumwa in 1984.
Online Resources for Marian Gilmore Hulse:
LSDArt.com. (n.d.) “ "Marion (Mion) Jordan Gilmore (Hulse)." Available: http://www.lsdart.com/assets/Artist/GilmoreHulse_Marion_c.pdf
Raynor, Patricia. “Off the Wall: New Deal Post Office Murals.” 6.4 (Oct-Dec 1997). In EnRoute: The National Postal Museum Membership Newsletter. Available: http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/resources/6a2q_postalmurals.html
Smithsonian American Art Museum. “ Band Concert (mural study): Corning, Iowa Post Office, 1939.” Available: http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=35949
'Music.' In the collection of Mary Ann Reiter, Ottumwa, Iowa. Image courtesy of Ms. Reiter and photographer Michael W. Lemberger.
'Man Cuts Flowers.' In the collection of Mary Ann Reiter, Ottumwa, Iowa. Image courtesy of Ms. Reiter and photographer Michael W. Lemberger.
'Park Bench.' In the collection of Mary Ann Reiter, Ottumwa, Iowa. Image courtesy of Ms. Reiter and photographer Michael W. Lemberger.
'People Talking.' In the collection of Mary Ann Reiter, Ottumwa, Iowa. Image courtesy of Ms. Reiter and photographer Michael W. Lemberger.
Photo courtesy of The Ottumwa Courier.
When Tillage Begins: The Stone City Art Colony and School
Researcher & Author: Kristy Raine