If you’ve never heard of Paul Sawyier, then you’re either new to Frankfort or you’ve been living under a rock! His body of work, mostly watercolor paintings about every day life in Frankfort, landscapes of the Kentucky River or of the Elkhorn Creek, live on forever as originals and reproduction prints. He was well known in the region for also painting portraits of local families in Frankfort. But Paul Sawyier didn’t reach national recognition until later in his short fifty-two year life.
Born back in 1865, Paul Sawyier lived in Frankfort during what is deemed “the peaceful years”, the years between the American Civil War and the start of the first World War. Born and raised in Frankfort, a new play about his adult life focuses on his relationships with his family and others important to him; his paintings and how they evolved over the years; his muses, including Frankfort itself and Miss Mayme Bull; his struggles with doing right by others and doing right by himself; and so much more!
Sure, maybe you’ve been up to the Frankfort Cemetery and driven past his gravesite. Or, perhaps you’ve gone down and checked out a book from the Franklin County Public Library which bares his name, the Paul Sawyier Public Library? Maybe you’ve even caught a glimpse of the Historical Marker on Broadway in front of the Kentucky Historical Society, which marks his childhood home. You’ve even seen his watercolor paintings in print form hanging somewhere in Frankfort! If you’re lucky, you’ve even seen a Paul Sawyier original painting in person.
The opening night of “Two Loves and a River”, Recollections Concerning Mr. Paul Sawyier, Kentucky Artist, and his Friend, Mayme Bull, is tonight at the Ward Oates Amphitheater at 7:00 pm. Part history, part romance, part life lessons, ALL FRANKFORT talent! “Two Loves and a River” was written by Mr. Don Coffey, directed by Mrs. Karen Kimmel Hatter, and is starring Mr. John Downs as Paul Sawyier and Miss Katy Doyle as Mayme Bull. The cast features many more local talent for the cast and crew. The play is presented by the Capital City Museum and utilizes the ideal backdrop of the Kentucky River at the Ward Oates Amphitheater, located at 520 W. Main Street (behind Liberty Hall). The play is a fundraiser for the museum and tickets are extremely reasonable at $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students. So bring your family, bring your lawn chairs, and bring a dinner picnic and enjoy this wonderful play! Get there early as to get the best seats. Also, on opening night, there will be a moment of silence to honor the men and women lost in the September 11th tragedy 13 years ago, and those they had left behind. The play runs through this weekend and next. Times are located at the end of this article.
If you don’t think this is something that the entire family can enjoy, I can attest that that is not the case. I brought my typical 12 year old “tween” with me to photograph their last dress rehearsal. She asked at the beginning of the play to use an electronic devise to entertain her. Within minutes of the play starting, she has shut down the devise and I found her often smiling and gaping, mouth wide open, at things she was learning from watching this production! You will smile, too. You will laugh. You will cry. You will learn. You will fall in love with Frankfort by seeing it through the eyes of Paul Sawyier!