On Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., the Gilmer-Smith Foundation is hosting an opening reception at the Gertrude Smith House to honor artist Leigh Rodenbough of Greensboro.
Ann Vaughn, executive director of the Gilmer-Smith Foundation, said the 88-year-old artist is an inspiration.
“After meeting Mr. Rodenbough, I am inspired with the fact that at his age he exuberates the energy of someone half his age. He has a passion for his art and still gets up every morning wanting to express that feeling on canvas. I think when you have an interest in something and pursue that interest, I think it prolongs your life,” said Vaughn.
Rodenbough’s artistic journey has spanned many decades and even now, as an octogenarian, he continues to push the boundaries of his creative potential. He has worn many hats in life pursing his endeavors to become a gallery artist much later in life than is typical.
Before turning to brush and easel, Rodenbough spent three years serving in the Navy, 18 years in active Reserve, and practiced law for 51 years before reaching age 80. His devotion to art began in earnest when, at age 65, he decided to devote one day per week from his law practice to paint with a group of artists from Rockingham County. That group, known as the “Studio Group,” continues to hold the distinction of being the longest lasting painting group in North Carolina. They have met on a weekly basis for more than two decades.
“Our artist paints with equal versatility in both oils and pastels and his themes are diverse reflections of his passions and adventures. He will be on hand to meet and greet art enthusiasts of all ages. We wish to thank our artist and the Uptown Artworks of Greensboro, where he has a studio and displays his works,” said Vaughn.
More than 40 of his seascapes and landscapes will fill the halls of the Gertrude Smith House from the opening reception date until Nov. 15. Open house hours will be observed during those dates on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment. During community festivals and events, the historic home will have open house hours as well.
“We encourage locals and visitors alike to visit the Historic Gertrude Smith House to experience this unique exhibition,” said Vaughn.
The Gertrude Smith House is located at 708 N. Main St., right next to the First Baptist Church. Parking is available on Elm Street and to the back of the house. There is additional parking available in the rear parking lot at First Baptist Church. For groups that would like to schedule a visit, call Ann Vaughn at 1-800-576-0231 or 786-6856. For further information and directions to the Gertrude Smith House, go to www.visitmountairy.com.