Ann Hunter is an accomplished artist and she comes by her talent honestly. Ann’s mother and grandmother helped shape the art scene in Wichita Falls, as far back as the 1900’s. Polly Hoffman, Ann’s grandmother, was one of the founding members of the Women’s Forum in 1927. It had many departments, such as a gardening department and an art department. Polly Hoffman was an artist and helped the “art department” evolve into the Wichita Falls Art Association in 1949 which is still going today, with Ann being one of its long-time members.
Ann’s mother Polly Cox was also an art major in college like her mother, and is very well known in the art community. She was actually a ceramics major, but she always painted. As time went by she painted more and more. Her art was in many shows and she has a long exhibition record. “She was involved in the Wichita Falls Art Association all of her adult life,” Ann recalled. “She was president a number of times and through the art association, she started a competitive ceramics show called Works of Clay. She had 7 of those shows.” In fact, when the Kemp Center for the Arts was formed in the 1990s she was instrumental in that as well.
Ann decided in high school to rebel against any suggestions that she should become and artist, so she went to college to get her English and history degree. She finished her masters in English at Midwestern State University. “I decided to take an Art History class, and while in that building I saw the ceramic’s department and decided to take a class in that. It looked fun. And I didn’t stop until I had another degree in art,” she said with a smile. She then went on to become an English teacher at a local high school. She was also the yearbook advisor and taught ceramics. “I quit teaching and had a gallery and studio of my own on 9th Street for 5 years then I decided it was time to go back to a job with benefits again, and I started teaching at Vernon College. I taught English there until I retired.”
While Ann had her studio, she started a fundraiser for the Food Bank called Empty Bowls. It was a success for many years, but when she went back to work, she wasn’t able to participate and it became a memory. Years later, the Food Bank approached the MSU ceramics department and the fundraiser was revived.
Ann’s art is heavily influenced by her mother and grandmother. She said that her grandmother had a wonderful sense of composition, and her mother was an excellent draftsman and had many journals full of her beautiful drawings. “I think having years of working with clay certainly influences my approach to painting in terms of a tactile medium. People don’t think of painting as a tactile, but I do. Also with clay and printmaking there is a challenge to put things together like in your mind. It is like a puzzle and a game,” she said. “I like to paint with oils in the three color painting process, where you apply yellow, then red then blue. There is also a sense of—okay I have this idea in my head—let’s make things fit together and work. I wonder if this amount of yellow and this amount of red and the amount of blue will make this shadow shape be right. It’s a puzzle,” she explained. “I feel that visual art and other arts are so important to human life that we need to create beautiful things or new ways of looking. We need to encourage the kinder gentler parts of our humanity,” Ann added.
Ann shows her art at the Wichita Falls Art Association Gallery and would like to persuade people in our town to come and see the arts that are going on in Wichita Falls downtown. “It certainly is an exciting time to see a number of artists and spaces displaying art,” she said.
– Cindy Kahler Thomas