Monday, January 03, 2011

Library art show pays tribute to Barbara Mulligan

PANAMA CITY — Barbara Mulligan’s latest show will give you a glimpse into the natural world that she so loved — the wildlife and ecosystems of Bay County.

A talented and accomplished artist and writer, Barbara passed away on Aug. 28, at age 75, after succumbing to a brain tumor. But Barbara already had her next exhibit lined up, longtime friend Bettina Mead said.

“Well over a year ago, Barbara asked me if she could have the first show of 2011,” said Mead, who arranges events and art exhibits for the Bay County Public Library. “Naturally, I said yes. Of course, none of us knew at that time how tragic 2010 would be for her, her family and for all of us who loved and admired her.”

The show Barbara wanted to display was her “Bay Windows” series, a collection of art that was first presented in the state Capitol while Jeb Bush was governor. The work on the series was begun in the fall of 2003, and the show was hung in the Cabinet Meeting Room in Tallahassee from May 22 to Sept. 8, 2006.

The official opening will be Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the new Bay County Public Library, 898 W. 11th St. in Panama City. The show will hang there through Feb. 5. The event and viewing are free to the public. For more information, call 850-522-2120 or e-mail

Mead said she was hoping for a good turnout for the opening ceremony.

“Her family is so pleased that we are having the show per her wishes,” she said.

In a written description of the Bay Windows series, Barbara explained how she wanted to create a “stained glass” look for the work, first carving woodblocks that were printed onto watercolor paper. She also used custom frames to resemble old window sashes. The paintings were mounted on mat board and sealed against double-strength window glass.

“A ‘clear glass’ window pane was left in the lower half of the work to create a ‘view’ of a scene one might see in Bay County,” she wrote.

It’s also a view into the heart and soul of a mature talent, nonetheless taken too soon.

(This was my "Undercurrents" column for The News Herald on Jan. 2, 2011.)
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