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A look at Kevin Kelly's painting that stopped (me in) traffic

"Community Center" 2021 - acrylic, oil, and colored pencil on canvas by Kevin Kelly
courtesy Reuben Saunders Gallery
"Community Center" 2021 - acrylic, oil, and colored pencil on canvas by Kevin Kelly

There is a painting in the window at Reuben Saunders Gallery on Douglas here in Wichita that literally stopped me in traffic the other day. I turned around and went inside to view it up close. It is Kevin Kelly’s 6- x 12-foot painting called “Community Center,” a marvelous abstract of textured mixed media done on a canvas tarp.

Bright salmons, azures, greens, and magentas work magnificently to ignite the entire wall. Well-balanced shapes that work in a floating harmony.

This painting has a priceless, REAL vibe—very sophisticated—and it’s also a popsicle on a summer’s day.

Kevin Kelly is a painting and drawing instructor at West High. He told me this painting is about a local community center where his grandfather hangs out, and the folks there who took the time to sing happy birthday to him when he turned 97. Kelly and his grandfather were both touched by that sense of real community and care.

Kelly nailed it—this is exactly what good art does—it captures you, and makes you wonder in its presence.

And can’t we all use a dose of goodness in these tumultuous days?

Kevin Kelly’s “Community Center,”on view at Reuben Saunders Gallery.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.