Do You Know this America?

In the fifties, America became wealthier, and, in addition to money, they discovered free time. Time which they devoted to themselves, their families, and their friends. They bought homes and looked to their neighbors to see what was new in their garden and they bought the same grills, the same patio furniture, the same cars, and the same clothes. And, in their homes, they hung the same pictures on the walls.

But it’s easy to spend money. It was also important to show personality and creativity, especially artistic creativity. And a new fad helped: paint by numbers! The idea was a phenomenon. Entire sets were sold: the picture, paints, and brushes. Everyone could match the color with the number and paint those areas with the same number the same color. In this way they painted their own works of art with their own hands.

There’s a story about two rich businessmen in Toledo in a store with large frames, exchanging comments on their own works of art. Then they visited each other and noticed the same picture in the same place in the house. It’s possible the paintings are hanging to this day.

To tell the truth, I would glady own one of these paintings. Because one of the artists who prepared the templates for the paint by numbers sets was Adam Grochowski Grant, a survivor of both Auschwitz and Mauthausen who was born in Warsaw in 1924 and died in Toledo in 1992. Adam Grant was a well-known and respected artist. His paintings have been exhibited all over the world, in faraway Krakow and in nearby Youngstown, at the Butler Institute of Art. Articles about him and his work appeared in the Toledo Blade and in American Artist. So when I found out that his wife, Peggy Grant, makes presentations about her husband’s work throughout Polonia, I invited her to give a talk at the Center.

Peggy Grant will discuss the life and work of her late husband at the Center on Friday, January 5th at 8 pm. I am certain that you will find both the history of his life and the power of his creativity inspiring. Additional information about Adam Grant’s work.

Ryszard Romaniuk
Translated by Sean Martin

Forum, wydanie specjalne 12/2006

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