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Tom Mitts: Home — Newport artist’s paintings on exhibit at Boone County main library through April 10

“I want to document the place I call home.”

That’s how artist Tom Mitts (1962–2017) described his paintings in an interview. Mitts grew up on 2nd Street in Newport, Kentucky, just south of the Ohio River, and many of his paintings feature what he knew well: the houses and streetscapes of Newport and the nearby river.

“Sunset” Tom Mitts © 2002

But in the same interview, Mitts made clear that his art is not purely documentary:
 “In many ways, my subject is not so much about 2nd Street. It’s about what home looks like and feels like to me.”

Mitts captured the light, atmosphere, and energy of the places that meant home to him. These include reflections of the Cincinnati skyline on the Ohio River; shadows cast from a truss bridge; snow settled on a gateway reflecting light from a streetlamp.

Of course, people and pets can also mean home. Mitts often painted the human form using oil and pastel—and images of his dogs, too.

The exhibition Tom Mitts: Home presents a selection of Mitts’ works at the Curt Bessette Art Gallery at the Boone County Main Public Library now on view through April 10.

There are 20 works by Mitts in the exhibition, including paintings and pastels.

The hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 pm. on Saturday.

Mitts spent most of his artistic career creating works inspired by his neighborhood and his hometown. He earned a B.A. in both Fine Arts and Physics from Centre College and an MFA from Louisiana State Unviersity where he served as a graduate assistance.

As an artist he excelled in out and pastel painting. He exhibited his works in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and was a Signature Member of the Cincinnati Art Club. He become a painter of historic homes and a color consultuant in Newport’s East Row District.

His life ended unexpectedly in 2019 after a surgical heart procedure but his artistry lives on in the oil paintings and pastels he created curing this 30+ years as an artist.

Some examples of his work:

5:45 AM

L&N Shadows

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