Thank you to everyone who attended our history talk and art reception this Saturday, at the Buxton and Landstreet building!
The event started off with a brief talk about the history of the Buxton and Landstreet building and the adjacent Davis Coal and Coke Company administrative building, by Judy Rodd. The Buxton and Landstreet Company was a retail subsidiary of Davis Coal and Coke, meaning that it was a “company store” where employees shopped with scrip. The store in Thomas was the flagship, considered to be the largest and best stocked in the area, and families would travel from nearby towns to shop there. Despite that, the company store system caused resentment in the community, and scrip was eventually phased out in favor of cash payments for miners. Some of the original features are still around, like the glazed brick walls, which were designed to be easy to clean in the era when soot from coal production was a constant feature of life in Thomas. Laura Kuhns of the Vandalia Heritage Foundation was also on hand to add some information on how the building was preserved and redeveloped.
Next, artist Ruth Blackwell Rogers discussed her collection of nature-themed paintings, on display at the B&L. The series focuses on representing forest ecosystems around the world, from cold northern forests to tropical mangroves. Some of the pictures are drawn directly from life and others from second-hand experience, but they all come from a place of gratitude for the important roles of these ecosystems. Rogers talked about her intent to paint these ecosystems, many of which are threatened, with a feeling of reverence and positive energy. The audience also asked questions about technique and got to hear a little about how Rogers first got into painting. We want to thank Ruth for her inspiring talk! For the rest of the evening, visitors checked out the art and were treated to live music from Tom Rodd and Michael Kline.