Love of art brought Hempfield couple togeher


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It was art that brought Betty and Alan Reese together and after 43 years of marriage, they still share that love of art.

The Reeses met while both students studying art education at the then Indiana State Teacher’s College, now Indiana State University of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Reese, now 83, was a young student right out of Tyrone High School, but Mr. Reese, now 88, was a bit older, having served in WW II first.

“We just really hit it off,” she recalled. 

Mrs. Reese remembers as a young child being “fascinated with color,” always drawing and studying art work.

“Growing up, my sister and I didn’t have a lot of money for entertainment, so we would draw a lot. And I was just fascinated with color and the juxtaposition of things – it was just so interesting to me,” she said.

Mr. Reese also had a deep interest in art as a child.

“He had dreams of becoming Norman Rockwell. His mother said he always had a sketch pad and would even draw in church,” Mrs. Reese said.

Thanks to several movies that she watched with a friend, Mrs. Reese said the two young ladies decided they wanted to become FBI agents. After writing to the agency and being rejected because they were women, she looked to a career as an art teacher.

“I guess that was a bit more realistic,” she said.

For Mr. Reese, it was off to serve in the US Navy during WWII after he graduated from Munhall High School in 1944. When he returned home, he used his GI Bill to obtain an education.

“He tried teaching for a few years, but it really wasn’t for him. Then he was hired at Westinghouse and did a number of jobs there,” Mrs. Reese said.

Through the years, Mrs. Reese taught various art classes and both practiced their art in various mediums.

“I mostly do pastels and oils and Alan liked pen and ink,” she said.

A highlight of their art careers came recently when they opened their current gallery exhibit together, “Wonderings,” at Greensburg Art Center in the Rowe Gallery.

Mrs. Reese said the work is labeled as “not flights of fancy, but revelations of everyday wonders.”

The dual show is a natural for the couple, because they have always learned from each other.

“We are better artists because of each other,” she said.

Mrs. Reese has volunteered at the Center for years and still works there three afternoons a week.

While they have both “slowed down,” in Mrs. Reese’s words, they still enjoy their artwork.

“This [the show] is really a lot of fun. It was a lot of work to get it ready, but it was well worth it,” she said.

“Wonderings” will run through Aug. 28. The Greensburg Art Center/Rowe Gallery is located at 230 Todd School Road in Greensburg. For more information on the exhibit visit: www.greensburgartcenter.org or 724-837-6791. 


Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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