Panel approves Ike memorial design

WASHINGTON — A powerful commission overseeing civic art and architecture in the nation’s capital voted last week to approve the general concept and layout of elements in Frank Gehry’s design for a national memorial honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts reviewed Gehry’s core imagery of the 34th president over the course of two hours, and members voted 3-1 to approve the memorial’s major elements. The design has drawn criticism from Eisenhower’s family and others.

Gehry has proposed a memorial park with statues and images of Ike as president, as World War II hero and as a young boy from Kansas. The park would be framed by large metal tapestries depicting the Kansas landscape of his boyhood home.

The commissioners suggested one significant change in the concept, however. They urged Gehry to remove two smaller side tapestries and use only one as a backdrop.

The arts commission is one of two panels that must approve the design, along with the National Park Service, in order for the $142 million project to move forward. The 14-year-old memorial project has been on hold for more than a year after Eisenhower’s family and other groups raised objections to the design concept.

Black history in focus with 2 exhibits in DC

WASHINGTON — Paintings of African-American history from slavery to suburban life by artist Kerry James Marshall and portraits of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s rise to prominence will help mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this year.

The National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Art are both recent opening exhibits focused on black history to commemorate the pivotal moment when King declared, “I have a dream.”

The National Gallery brought together paintings by Marshall for the artist’s first solo exhibition in Washington.

At the Portrait Gallery, Curator Ann Shumard says King is often remembered for his most famous speech. But she set out to show the trajectory of his entire career in photographs.

Va. museum wants to restore locomotive

— The Virginia Museum of Transportation wants to have a steam-engine locomotive running again.

Marketing director Peg McGuire says the Roanoke museum is launching a campaign to raise $3.5 million by late October to restore a Norfolk & Western J-Class 611 steam engine and build a shop where it can be worked on.

The Roanoke Times reports the goal is to have the engine operational next year for Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam passenger excursion program.

Abigail Adams’ birthplace reopens

— Abigail Adams’ birthplace in Massachusetts has reopened to the public after being closed for two years for major structural renovations.

The reopening earlier this month of the Weymouth home built in 1685 marks a new chapter in the Abigail Adams Historical Society’s mission to spread the story of the wife of the nation’s second president and mother of the sixth.

The society plans to highlight her focus on education as well as “key and little-known facts of Adams’ life and times.”

With the addition of heat and air conditioning, programs will be held year-round.

New Blues Trail marker set for Ruleville, Miss.

— Ruleville’s “Greasy Street” will receive a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

The ceremony will be Tuesday at the corner of Floyce and Front streets in Ruleville. Front Street was the first commercially developed area in Ruleville.

Officials say a popular explanation for the nickname “Greasy Street” is that cafe owners would throw old grease on the street to keep down the dust.

Located a block south of the railway depot and across the tracks from several cotton gins, Greasy Street soon became a destination for blues performers.

Musicians, including David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Charley Patton and Howlin’ Wolf, would play here Saturday afternoons when the street was crowded with residents of nearby plantations who came to town to shop and relax.


Mississippi Blues Trail,

Associated Press