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The Carthage Press
  • Annual Carthage event starts Friday, showcases national artistic talent

  • Richard Bliss spent 15 years in Carthage working with young people and video taping their weddings, graduations and other milestones in their lives.
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  • Richard Bliss spent 15 years in Carthage working with young people and video taping their weddings, graduations and other milestones in their lives.
    He moved from Carthage to the Branson area to be closer to his kids upon his “semi-retirement,” but Carthage, and specifically, the Midwest Gathering of the Artists, still holds a special place in his heart — so special in fact that he hopes to come back for his 32nd consecutive Midwest Gathering if his health allows.
    “I'm excited about it. I just want to pass the word to the community that it is a neat event for all ages,” Bliss said during a recent visit to The Carthage Press office. “We've been going to the Midwest Gathering of the Artists for years and bought some art there. I've helped set up in the past and it has just been a ball helping. It's so neat meeting the artists, they're from all over the country. This event brings these people into our town, it also brings in a lot of tourists and people to see their work so it's a great thing for Carthage.”
    Bliss said he developed cancer about five years ago and even though he's in remission, he's having other health problems that might prevent him from going to the three-day gathering of nationally famous artists, but he encouraged the community to come out and take advantage of a rare opportunity to meet the artists in person.
    This year is the 35th year for the annual show.
    It kicks off on Friday with an auction on Friday, Sept. 14, at Carthage's Memorial Hall, featuring original art from almost three dozen artists, some nationally famous and some locally renowned.
    The cost to attend the auction is $20 per person and wind and hors d' oeuvres will be served starting at 6 p.m. Carthage Mayor Mike Harris will deliver a welcoming address at 7 p.m. and awards will be handed out at 7:15 p.m. The auction will begin at 7:30 p.m.
    On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16, many of the artists will set up shop in Memorial Hall for an art show and sale. The show starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. each day.
    Admission is free and the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and their backgrounds.
    The Midwest Gathering was started in 1977 by Carthage artists Lowell Davis and Bob Tommey and auctioneer Danny Hensley.
    Bliss said he remembers some of the early years when the show was held at Precious Moments and other places, and he's been pleased to see it continue.
    “It's been exciting to see the changes,” Bliss said. “Carthage means a lot to me. We moved away, but I was very active in the community. It's just neat to see how this event has developed into such a tradition.”
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