Kass Morin Freeman
NAP bids farewell to Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter with artwork from the very first NAP show!
This beautiful watercolor of City Hall was painted in the spring of 1984 and has hung in our offices since the very first National Arts Program®, which took place in the City of Philadelphia’s Civic Center in 1985. Our founder purchased this piece directly from the artist, Kass Morin.
While discussing ways to thank Mayor Michael Nutter for all the support he has given to our show over the past 8 years, Kathleen Jamieson, our President, suggested that we track down the artist and see if she would be willing to personalize a custom print for the Mayor. We thought this would be the perfect gift, but worried that finding a participant from a show taking place over 30 years ago might prove to be a challenge.
Thanks to a quick internet search, we were able to locate the artist, now Kass Morin Freeman, right in Lansdale, PA. Our Executive Director decided to give it a shot and called her, only to be completely dumbfounded by her response. Not only did Kass remember the National Arts Program® exhibit in detail, but she was now a well-known watercolor artist and teacher. She also happens to be a retired City of Philadelphia school teacher who long after that original show in 1985, had gone on to live and work in the city. Being a huge fan of Mayor Nutter, Kass was thrilled to let us reproduce the painting stating that, “once a city girl, always a city girl.”
Her father, who worked as a city police officer, was the one who encouraged her to enter the exhibit. He has since passed away, but she said he would have enjoyed this honor for her and so we had an extra print made to hang next to her father’s badge on the wall in her brother’s home.
Kass not only gave us permission to reprint her original work but agreed to join the foundation staff at the City of Philadelphia’s National Arts Program® Awards Reception on December 16th. She was there when we presented the gift of her work to the Mayor and after attending this special occasion Kass sent us a beautiful note describing her experience.
“I met a number of exhibitors who came up to me as I was viewing the works in the hallway. All were so excited to show their work and be a part of such a show. As I was genuinely impressed by the works I viewed it was easy for me to return their enthusiasm.
One gentleman, a bomb squad expert for the Police department, downplayed the beauty of his color photo of a jellyfish (a prize winner) but there was no doubt that he was thrilled and encouraged to pursue photography more seriously when he soon retires. To see the parents so proud and impressed with their children's success just enlarged the importance of such an exhibition and expanded its impact.
Thank you for continuing such a wonderful idea into a great tradition and very powerful statement that art is everywhere for all of us.” –Kass Morin Freeman
Kass Morin Freeman poses with her watercolor entitled “Looking up Broad Street” as the gift is being presented to Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, who is accepting on behalf of Mayor Michael Nutter.