Arthur Covey Exhibit opens on campus

By Tanner Carlson
Staff Reporter

Arthur Covey was a world renowned muralist, and will have his art displayed on Southwestern’s campus.

The exhibit begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, and will continue throughout Founders Weekend until May 13. The art will be displayed in four different locations on campus including the Strohl House, Deets Library, Darbeth, and the Tomari Technical Center.

Covey attended Southwestern College in 1895-1897 where he met his art professor, and life-long friend, Edith Dunlevy. Dunlevy encouraged Covey to drop out of Southwestern and attend art school. After graduating with honors and perfecting his craft in Europe, Covey made his first major commission in Wichita, KS, which was The Spirit of Kansas mural at Southwest National Bank. When Covey passed away in 1960, his wishes were to donate all of his paintings to Southwestern College in honor of Edith Dunlevy, who he credited for his entire career.

“That’s what we’re celebrating here,” Charles McKinzie, director of alumni engagement, explained. “[There are] 200 pieces [of art] in his personal collection, and unfortunately there is no way we will be able to display all them in the exhibition.”

Out of the 200 pieces available, a little over 100 of them will be displayed around campus, which makes this the largest art exhibition in Southwestern’s history.

“The hopes are that as students pass through the halls, they get a chance to experience and grow in their appreciation and understanding of who Arthur was,” McKinzie said.

The exhibition will not only show Covey’s final products, but will show the process in how he scaled these massive murals.

“What I find really fascinating about Arthur Covey is his ability to work in so many different mediums,” said Kaydee RiggsJohnson, vice president of marketing communication. She helped organize and coordinate the printed materials that accompany the show.

The exhibition is more than looking at Covey’s work. It is a chance to learn more about him as a man, and what inspired him to create these works of art. People may find him more relevant than they ever thought before.

“I think that no one really, in the mainstream public, has ever heard of Arthur Covey,” Pamela Thompson, catalog writer and editor for the Arthur Covey exhibition, said. “Even some of the people who may have one of his oil paintings in their office.”

Students of Southwestern College are encouraged to walk the halls, and admire the art anytime they have free time to do so.

“I would like to encourage students to come see the 100 works that we have,” Thompson said. “Even between finals, and you want a study break just walk through our galleries, and just try to experience some of the magic of his art.”

Tanner Carlson is a junior majoring in communication. You can email him at

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