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Bart Snyder honored to be part of Pike County 200 Art Show

The Johnson Center for the Arts and the Pike County Commission have partnered to present the Pike County Bicentennial Exhibition in celebration of Pike County’s 200 years in 2021.

Pike County artists and those with roots, deep and shallow, were invited to show their work at the Pike County 200 Art Show that opens Thursday night at The Studio with an artists’ reception from 6 until 7:30 p.m. The public is invited.

The list of Pike County artists whose work will be on display is impressive. Many of the names are familiar while others might not be readily recognizable. But one jumps out. Bart Snyder, retired Goshen teacher and football coach.

“Bart Snyder paints? For real?”

Yes, Bart Snyder paints and, yes, he’s for real.

Snyder laughing admitted that many are surprised that he is an “artist.” In fact, he has been kind of surprised himself. Although he enjoyed art when he was growing up and forward, he never thought about it as an adult hobby or a vocation.

However, when Snyder retired from education, many wondered how he would spend his time away from the profession that had been such an important and fulfilling part of his life for so many years.

But, “many” didn’t know there was a side of Bart Snyder far different from the man they saw on the football field. Few knew that Snyder was also an artist, and not just an ordinary artist, a very talented one.

Snyder, laughingly, said he never tried to hide his artistic side, he just didn’t have time to show it.

“I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting, but, when you work and have a family, there’s not a lot of time for hobbies, especially when you work days and many nights,” he said. “So, when I retired, I wanted to do things I had not had time to do. Painting was something I wanted to do.”

Snyder has advanced from doodling, church bulletins and signs to detailed watercolors and acrylics of things that are important to him and, hopefully, others.

“Like John Deere tractors, cows, magnolias and, even corn holes.” he said with a laugh. “I paint things that are stress relieving for me. When you coach, there is stress and there is also stress in daily life. We are dealing now with the stress related to the coronavirus. When I paint, I can put life’s stresses aside for a while.”

Snyder said he likes the style of Norman Rockwell and how his paintings tell stories that are almost universal.

“I want people to be able to relate to my paintings,” he said. “I paint a lot of flowers, especially magnolias and roses. What’s not to like about a flower? Churches, barns, dogs, home places or just homes. I especially like to paint things that are disappearing from the Alabama countryside, especially barns, houses and buildings that are falling down. To me, that’s important. These fading scenes can be preserved through art. It’s a lasting way.”

Snyder said his wife, Stephanie, encouraged him to enter the Pike County 200 Art Show.

“I might not have entered without her encouragement,” he said. “I’m proud that I did. It’s going to be a good show. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

The reception for the Pike County 200 Art Show opens Thursday night with an artists’ reception from 6 until 7:30 p.m. at The Studio in downtown Troy, just across from the Johnson Center for the Arts. The public is invited.

The Pike County 200 exhibit will continue through September 23. Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.