Etched in History
Two artists honored for contributions
Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, under the direction of Secretary of State Tom Schedler, is honoring two Shreveport artists with very different gifts. Minor Vinck Recently, Friends of LSEM dedicated an extraordinary sand-carved glass panel reflecting Shreveport’s architectural history by Minor Vinck in celebration of the artist’s 100th birthday.
The glass panel titled “Shreveport Skyline” is an outline of the city’s architecture in 1950. The city’s downtown iconic buildings such as the courthouse, First Baptist Church and Veterans Building are easily identified due to Vincks skill and artistry. The dedication will be a permanent installation in the Rotunda’s North entry.
Vinck was born Jan. 22, 1916, in Texarkana, Texas, to a family tradition of glasswork. When Vinck turned 16, he began work at the Texarkana Glass and Mirror Works, cutting and installing automobile and window glass.
“The Vinck family were all glass workers,” Vinck told museum curator Nita Cole in an interview.
In 1937, Vinck married Ruth Webb and moved to Shreveport. Looking for work in the industry he knew, he got a job at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. Later, he became an apprentice glass cutter under the supervision of his uncle at Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company. Vinck studied sculpture with nationally known artist Arthur Morgan and executed several portraits in stone, wood and glass.
During his downtime, Vinck worked in his home studio, engraving, making stained glass and beveling.
He expanded his home studio to a commercial venture, Vinck Studios on Ellerbe Road. He sold leaded glass doors and windows, took commissions for stained glass for local churches, and made glass murals for local organizations, such as the Petroleum Club.
“I always had a studio at home,” Vinck said. “After work and on weekends, I would work in it.”
Vinck uses numerous techniques to create his designs. Sand-carving is a method of shaping glass by pouring molten glass into a mold made of sand. Hand engraving is when a glass artist uses small hand tools to remove glass from a piece in order to leave a design behind.
There is an exhibit of Vinck’s work showcasing a variety of glass sculpture created by sand-carving and copper wheel engraving, as well as stone and wood sculpture.
The original artworks represent Louisiana’s birds, animals and insects in their natural environment.
“I was the only one at Libbey-Owens who could do copper wheel engraving,” he said.
“I just wanted to do it, so I bought the equipment and started doing the hand engraving.”
It’s a process that takes a great deal of concentration, he said. Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr.
Joining the Secretary of State and Friends of LSEM, Willis-Knighton Health Systems dedicated the museum’s East Wing Auditorium in honor of pianist Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr.
The Noel Foundation Inc. Chamber Music Series brought together the talents of world-class guest artists with the top Shreveport Symphony musicians Jan. 24 at the museum.
Cliburn, a Shreveport native, won the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958. He achieved international recognition for bridging the gap in Russian and American relations during the Cold War.
Cliburn has played for every American president since Truman. His performance in the Reagan White House also included President Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa in the audience and was part of a summit meeting that eventually ended the Cold War.
In 2001, he received the Kennedy Center Honors Award as “one of the most persuasive ambassadors of American culture, as well as one of the greatest pianists in the history of music.” In 2004, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of the Arts.
For the Inauguration of the Van Cliburn Auditorium in the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, international guest artists were Stanislav Khristenko and Tomer Gewirtzman performing Solo and Piano 4-hands. Symphony Music Director Michael Butterman and violinist Jennifer Carsillo also performed.
Over the last four years, the state has recently completed an extensive refurbishment of the East Wing Auditorium. Renovations began with replacement of the ceiling tiles, which were collapsing, then painting, carpeting, new curtain and re-sanding the wood stage.
The most extensive work included updated lighting and refinishing every chair back and new upholstery for 325 seats.
The public is invited to view the exhibit during regular museum hours, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The museum is located at 3015 Greenwood Road between Hearne and Jewella in Shreveport.
Go to www.laexhibitmuseum. org, for more information and the complete interview with Minor Vinck.