(Kansas City, Missouri) - Amid its efforts to present more original exhibits—and showcase more locally and nationally known artists with Kansas City connections—the Kansas City Public Library is unveiling a new gallery in its downtown Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Appropriately, the inaugural exhibit in the Rocky and Gabriella Mountain Gallery features the works of the local artist whose generosity made it possible.
Gabriella Polony Mountain: A Life in Art opens Saturday, March 28, 2015, in the gleaming, second-floor space on the Central Library's east mezzanine. It includes bold, colorful sculptures, mosaics, stained glass, repoussé, and weavings created by Gabriella Polony Mountain, who emigrated from Hungary in the early 1950s and established herself as one of Kansas City's most talented and diverse artists.
The exhibit runs through September 27, 2015.
Born in 1918 and raised in the Central European city of Bratislava—in a house atop a hill along the Danube—Polony Mountain started drawing at about age 12 and studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and in Rome. She arrived in America in 1951 with her first husband, their luggage, and $120 and soon made a name for herself through her commissioned artwork, earning multiple fellowships and awards.
Her first marriage ended in divorce. But she met the love of her life, Herman "Rocky" Mountain, to whom she was married for nearly 52 years until his death in 2013.
Polony Mountain's artwork is displayed publicly and privately in homes, buildings, and churches across the region. She designed the stained-glass windows in the chapel at Whiteman Air Force Base east of Warrensburg, Missouri, and composed the mosaic floor of downtown Kansas City's old Main Library at 12th and McGee.
When a loss of strength in her hands made it difficult to work in other media, Polony Mountain turned to a loom and weaving. She continued creating into her 90s.
Through her generous contribution and additional support from The Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, the new Rocky and Gabriella Mountain Gallery was created. It gives the Central Library two exceptional exhibit spaces, joining the first-floor Genevieve Guldner Gallery.
Admission is free. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.