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Springfield Art Museum News Releases

Posted on: November 14, 2016

Generous Gift Allows Museum to Acquire Largest Watercolor Yet to Permanent Collection

Pearce Loosened 3.jpg


Springfield, MO. (November 14, 2016) - The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of Missouri artist Anne Austin Pearce’s "Loosened #3" (roughly 4’ high x 11’ wide) to its permanent collection. Pearce represents the state of Missouri in the current "Four by Four: 2016 Midwest Invitational Exhibition" (4x4), on display through December 4, 2016. "Loosened #3" is inspired by a float trip the artist took along the Current River, making not only the artist, but also the subject intimately tied to the region.

The acquisition was made possible through the generous donation of funds given to the Southwest Missouri Museum Associates (SMMA) in a bequest from the late Shirley A. Carr. According to SMMA President Brenda Stiles, “Our Executive Committee voted to designate those funds toward the acquisition of art. We are pleased to be able to donate the monies to purchase this work for the Springfield Art Museum’s watercolor collection. Given its scope and scale, it is a unique addition to the strong watercolor tradition that Springfield, and the Springfield Art Museum are known for through the Watercolor USA exhibition.” SMMA has long provided major support for Watercolor USA.

Sonya Wise, a member of SMMA and a docent at the Museum has spent many hours introducing visiting 5th graders from local schools to the 4x4 exhibit this fall. “Loosened #3 seemed to be one of the favorites. The idea that the artist captured her memories and portrayed their essence on paper really got the children thinking. Encouraging students to think and see like an artist, and then watching them sketch their own ideas was particularly rewarding.” Teaching Artist Will Knauer elaborates, “Loosened #3 is an excellent example of a work that stirs the imagination. It is open to interpretation, yet beautifully depicts the scene the artist had in mind. At times soft and fluid, at other times dark and murky, you can experience this painting in a myriad of ways and senses.”

The purpose of the 4x4 exhibit, envisioned by its creator Curator of Art Sarah Buhr, is to document contemporary artistic practice in the four state region, while supporting and encouraging that practice through prize money and by acquiring work, when appropriate. Museum Director Nick Nelson notes, “Loosened #3 has brilliant ties to our collection, offering an abstract counterpoint to Thomas Hart Benton’s realistic study of the Current River already in our collection. Abstract work lends itself to other abstract activities, giving us a platform to engage learners in non-traditional ways. We continue to be thankful for the support of our friends in SMMA who support the Museum’s mission in our community.”

See the 4x4 exhibit and "Loosened #3" through December 4th at the Springfield Art Museum, located at 1111 E. Brookside Drive. Anticipate Benton and Pearce’s points of view on the Current River to be juxtaposed in our "Creating an American Identity" exhibit in the future. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, we are dedicated to enhancing the education and documenting the cultural heritage of the people of southwest Missouri through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art objects. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact Joshua Best, Development and Marketing Coordinator, 417-874-2859 or

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