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Second retirement for Ellen Reynolds


Photo by Christy Porter
Beautiful paintings by Ellen Reynolds will be shared with the community at a Retirement Reception and Showing on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Texas County Museum of Art and History.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

   Ellen Reynolds will soon be enjoying a second retirement, doing more of what she personally loves doing, painting. Reynolds’ fifteen year tenure as the curator of the Texas County Museum of Art and History will be celebrated at a Retirement Reception and Showing of her work on Sunday, Nov. 10 from 2 – 4 p.m.
   She was an elementary art teacher at Licking Elementary School for 28 years when she retired the first time in 2002. “I enjoyed the creativeness of the students while teaching; young people don’t know that they may not be an artist, so they all love art class. I experienced very few behavioral problems. While I know of no ‘artists,’ some of my more talented students have continued their art in the graphic arts field,” says Reynolds.
   Teaching runs through Reynolds’ blood, as her father was a chemistry teacher at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar where she was born. Her daughter is also a teacher, in keeping with the family; her husband, Barry, taught Jr. High Science in Licking and also retired in 2002.
   Attending fifth through twelfth grades in Rolla brought her close to the area, but not yet to Licking, of which she says, “I am so thankful I live in a small rural town; I love my small town.”
   Ellen attained a Physical Education degree with a minor in Art while attending SBU, where she also met Barry. They married right out of college in 1972. There was a surplus of teachers in Missouri at the time, says Reynolds, so they moved to Illinois where they both taught in a Catholic high school for two years.
   Then wanting to come back to Missouri, they did so using a very unique and creative plan. Taking a map of Missouri, Barry drew a circle around the trout parks. Licking’s close proximity to Montauk State Park prompted interviews with then superintendent Dr. Kent King, who hired both of the Reynolds’.
   Teaching and a young daughter curtailed her personal art expression to doing watercolors at the kitchen table as a hobby, for several years. Time and space were limiting, but fortunately watercolors dried quickly.
   Over the course of the years Ellen has completed several mission trips. They have included teaching English with missionaries from SBU in Salem, going to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Panama. The missionaries were using the Bible as instructional and spiritual text. She has also done U.S. mission trips in Missouri, Colorado and Wisconsin with different Baptist churches doing construction and Bible Schools. The photography from these trips are often incorporated into her paintings. 
   Ellen says that teaching and being Baptist must be family traits, as her son-in-law is a Baptist minister in Ozark, also where her daughter teaches. The Reynolds’ have two granddaughters and two grandsons. Will this trend continue into the next generation?
   She became a member of the Spring Creek Artisans of Salem in 1979, as a painter. This is a group of juried artists in different mediums. Membership is based on a current group vote and admittance is based on a specific art genre. After admission, members can participate in other genres.
Ellen continued to pursue her art after her teaching retirement and before becoming the curator of the TCM by holding workshops at the Bridge Builders Center. Her instructions included calligraphy and basket weaving. 
In 2003 she was hired by TCM board president, John Hood, and began researching for the start up of the museum and the administrative responsibilities. She was prepared prior to the museum opening in 2004. She has been very instrumental in the growth of the museum and the many events that take place there weekly and ongoing on a yearly basis. Ellen is very appreciative of the support by Ron Rennick, the volunteers and the community. She has high regards for Sandy Campbell, who volunteers a majority of the days the museum is open. She comments that one of Sandy Campbell’s titles should be acquisition officer. Somehow when there is a need for fixtures, such as seating or display at the museum, Campbell has an innate ability to locate those items and arrange for the need to be filled.
   The community is very appreciative for the friendly, helpful assistance with the art and craft creative and the historical archives. Including the well maintained, pleasant and inviting environment at this Licking institution.
   Around 2004, Ellen inherited an old set of oil paints; as oil paints do not deteriorate she started painting in oils and loved it. She does pencil sketches, among other art genres, as opportunity presents itself within the local artistic community.
   The museum inspired the organization of the Current River Artists, of which Ellen is an active participant. This group of artists from the local area create, display and sell their artistic endeavors at the museum. 
   “I have really enjoyed the school children coming to the museum for field trips. There are so many interesting things to share with them,” says Ellen. She has continued to teach children in her curator role. In addition Ellen has had a guest column for The Licking News, updating the community on what’s going on and what is available at the museum.
   While it has been a learning and teaching opportunity for Reynolds she has no intention of omitting the museum from her life. After retirement, Ellen plans to continue as a volunteer with the museum and helping with the curator and administrative transition. She is very supportive of the incoming leadership. “I will enjoy giving up the administrative duties, but still participating at the museum, especially at the Tuesday artists open studio,” says Ellen.
   Ellen is looking forward to no time restrictions, active volunteerism and future mission trips, painting every Tuesday at the museum and more involvement at her church, First Baptist in Licking.

   “I want to paint and for all my paintings to be peaceful and bring joy. Nothing dark,” states Ellen.

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