Guardsmen team up with retiree on exhibit

Essex Garner talks about the items and paintings on display in the case behind him at the Missouri National Guard Headquarters. He and others have spent nearly a year recreating scenes to be photographed from which he would paint his detailed works. He brought students from Lincoln University, where he is a professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. The exhibit is titled “The Price for Our Freedom-A Tribute to the Colored Infantry Soldier” and is on display this month at the guard headquarters.

Essex Garner talks about the items and paintings on display in the case behind him at the Missouri National Guard Headquarters. He and others have spent nearly a year recreating scenes to be photographed from which he would paint his detailed works. He brought students from Lincoln University, where he is a professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. The exhibit is titled “The Price for Our Freedom-A Tribute to the Colored Infantry Soldier” and is on display this month at the guard headquarters.

In recognition of Black History Month, the Museum of Missouri Military History is hosting the “Learning to Read, a Soldier’s Story” exhibit at the Ike Skelton Training Site this month. The display features six paintings portraying what it was like for black soldiers learning to read during the Civil War.

“This exhibition is about life lessons, a celebration of family, military service, the importance of a good education and a tribute to the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantry,” said Essex Garner, a Lincoln University professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department and Missouri National Guard retiree.

Garner worked with a select group of volunteers, photographed in reproduction period uniforms and painted on canvas by the artist. Two of the subjects who volunteered to participate, Master Sgt. Leo Lewis and Sgt. Bruce Shockley, are Missouri Army National Guard members who work full-time at ISTS.

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