Think of bank décor as a drab assortment of framed watercolor landscapes positioned on beige walls behind stiff armchairs?
At First National Bank, generous displays of contemporary art appear to rank just below dollars and cents on bank owner Mark Landrum’s priority list. Nurturing a penchant for fine art, Landrum has amassed a world-class collection that, with the help of Landrum Company Vice President Kip Goodman’s keen curatorial eye, has converted the lobby, the employee offices, the conference rooms and even the stairwell of First National Bank on Broadway into a veritable art museum.
“Art helps create the welcoming environment we like to provide to customers and visitors to the bank,” says Goodman, who chooses where each piece is displayed and currently is overseeing the completion of a catalog of the bank’s 500-plus works of art. “It’s a nice tie to the community, and it gives the bank a certain spirit, I think,”
Landrum has a particular fondness for contemporary ceramics, and the building bubbles over with massive kiln-fired pieces—most on the main floor (their weight perhaps prohibiting their being lugged up and down stairs). Beyond the front entryway, visitors can find two large Grecian-urn-esque ceramic sculptures by Ruty Audio, the Japanese-kimono-inspired ceramic “His/Her Oriental Beauties” by Betty Woodman, the whimsical new giant bejeweled magician-rabbit piece “Hocus Pocus” by Midwesterner Judy Onofrio, a commissioned porcelain piece by Chicagoan Ruth Duckworth, multiple works by the famous late ceramic sculptor Peter Volkous, the paired ceramic pieces “Gemini” by local artist Betsy Roe, and chunky, ornately desert-colored carved-rock-like works, including the captivating “Sufi Sky” by University of Missouri professor Robert Bede Clarke.
Most of the artists whose work graces FNB’s spaces have ties to mid-Missouri. The bank displays vibrant photographs by Columbians Deb Roberts and Kay Baumgarner depicting, respectively, miniature still-life scenes and movement-capturing bird images—as well as lush landscape photos by Columbia-born Peter Haigh, and gripping black-and-white portraits by local photographer Carole Patterson. Columbia painter Brian Mahieu is represented with his piece “Into the Light.” After moving to Missouri from the Southwest, University of Central Missouri professor John Louder created the enormous, 24-painting Missouri nature-scene collection that provides a month-by-month walking tour through seasons for anyone taking the stairs from bottom to the top of the bank’s four-story building. And well-known Columbia fiber artist and MU professor Jo Stealey created, with natural materials, the sizable “Harem” hanging on the wall at a stairway landing.
If you get to the bank by July 6, you may get the chance to see even more of Stealey’s work, along with the distinctive vessels created by fellow local fiber artist Leandra Spangler and work by their colleagues—all part of this summer’s citywide Fiber Art Tour and Exhibition (FATE). Although it seems there’s nary an inch of space in the building not yet occupied by art, Goodman is not adverse to moving some furniture around from time to time to accommodate a special exhibit, such as FATE or the annual fall “Visions” photography exhibition.
“We do the best we can when we’re asked to participate in something like the fiber tour,” Goodman says. “One day we hope to have dedicated space.”
In the meantime, with so much art to thrill the senses, waiting in the bank lobby to make a deposit may seem like a welcome treat.