The Howard Steamboat Museum kept it in the family for the museum’s “Fall Into Art” exhibit. This year the exhibit features Norman Kohlhepp.

“This year we’re really stepping out,” said Diana Stawar chairman of the exhibits committee. “Norman Kohlhepp was married to one of the Howard girls, one of the three granddaughters born in this house, and so he is significant to us as part of the family.”

The opening reception for “Fall Into Art” was held Sunday afternoon at the museum. The reception was the first time people could view more than 30 pieces of Kohlhepp’s artwork. The museum owns eight pieces and the other pieces were loaned by Speed Museum and private owners.

“It’s interesting in our advertisement about this exhibit more and more paintings of Norman’s painting have come to light,” Stawar said, “And people have called us and said ‘do you have room for our painting in the exhibit?’ That’s the kind of thing we have hoped for, to have this kind of community involvement.”

Ed Hamilton, a sculptor and friend of Kohlhepp, who passed away in 1986, was the guest speaker at the event sharing stories about his friendship with Kohlhepp.

“I thought it was important to let people know how artist connect to each other and how an artist like Norman Kohlhepp who took me on as an apprentice,” Hamilton said, “It’s so important to be able to give that back to other artists and people. To let them know what you do and how you do it and that’s what I enjoy doing, letting them know how we go through the process of becoming an artist, what does it entail to become an artist, what happens when artists work together, that’s the beauty of it. It was a great friendship too.”

Judy Lanham, of Louisville, attended the event to support the Kohlhepps.

“I was a longtime friend of Norman’s,” Lanham said, “My husband was a freelance artist, he was a sculptor, Don Lanham and Norman and Frances were very supportive. We just really enjoyed them as a couple. They were so supportive of Don.”

Kohlhepp’s work will be on display at the museum until Nov. 26 and two other special events will take place before then. The museum will host “Reminiscenes,” a panel discussion with Kohlhepp’s friends on Nov. 12 and 19, there will be a presentation by John Begley of the Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville.

— Jennifer Wyatt is a freelance writer and lives in Clarksville.

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