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Remembering William Hancock: New Albany Artist

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, “Remembering William Hancock, New Albany Artist.” This exhibition highlights the remarkable works of William “Bill” Hancock (1915-2003), a well-known New Albany painter, and also includes works by his daughter Nancy Hancock Shallers. Drawing from local public and private collections, the exhibit will include a range of works that show the beauty of the landscape and architecture around New Albany. “Remembering William Hancock, New Albany Artist” will be open July 17 through August 29, 2009. As part of the exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to hear podcasts of local artist Ray Day speaking of his memories of Bill Hancock.

There will be an opening reception for this exhibit on Friday July 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and meet members of Hancock’s family while exploring the works of this New Albany artist. This event is free and open to the public. The exhibit “Remembering William Hancock, New Albany Artist” and the opening reception are sponsored by the Carnegie Center, Inc. During the exhibit, the Carnegie Center will offer workshops for adults and teens to try watercolor and pastel, Hancock’s favorite media; please call 812-944-7336 for more information.

One of the younger members of the Wonderland Way Art Club, Hancock painted and discussed techniques with artists such as James L. Russell, Paul Plaschke, Sid Crosier, Harvey Joiner, and Joseph Krementz. He had a fondness for working in watercolors and he studied with Ken Schultz, John Pike and Tony Van Hasselt, all members of the American Watercolor Society. He also refined his abilities through study at the University of Louisville Art Center, the Miami University Institute of Art, and through correspondence courses with the Famous Artists School during the Depression.

The artist’s widow Ruth Hancock writes, “Bill had been an artist all his life. When he was in the first grade each child was given a piece of modeling clay. Most of the children made a ball or snake – Bill made a pea pod and put in the peas and curlicues on the ends. The teacher was so impressed she had the principal come see it. The principal called the superintendent of schools and he came. They all collaborated and decided when Bill was old enough to cross a busy street he could go to high school to study art… Watercolor was his favorite medium. He has numerous prints on the market and we continue to have special ones printed so more people can enjoy them. He had a pastel still-life accepted and exhibited in the Pastel Society of America show in New York City. He also participated in the Hoosier Art Salon, the Kentucky Watercolor Society and numerous other exhibits. Alzheimer’s caused him to lose his ability to paint perspective and ended a lifetime of beautiful works of art.”

Nancy Hancock Shallers (1940-1999) inherited her father’s talent. She graduated from the University of Louisville with majors in French and Organ. She received her Master of Arts degree in French from the University of Wisconsin. She also studied in Paris several times during her college years. Shallers’ work consisted largely of portraits in pastel, and she also completed numerous still-life paintings. Remembers Ruth Hancock, “At 17 years old she did a portrait of her sister, Jean, who was 11 at the time, and she also created a self-portrait by looking in the mirror. She gave both portraits to us for Christmas. Her dad immediately said, ‘Your hair is parted on the wrong side!’ She didn’t think about the fact that the reflection reversed her image.” Shallers continued to paint commissioned portraits off and on up until her death in 1999.

The views presented in this exhibition are not necessarily those of the Carnegie Center for Art & History or the Arts Council of Southern Indiana.