Grand opening Thursday for black light poster exhibit

The black light poster exhibit /// Photo by Amanda Corbin
Amanda Corbin
News Reporter

Something new is taking light at the LeFlore County Museum at Hotel Lowrey.

At 5:30 Thursday night the new exhibit, "Art by the People โ€” for the People," will host its grand opening. It is free, open to the public and there will be refreshments for attendees.

"Art by the People โ€” for the People" celebrates the private collection of 1960 Poteau High School graduate and current resident Roberta Bell and features vintage black light poster graphics from the mid-1960s to early 1970s.

"This is something for young and old alike," said Bonnie Prigmore, museum director. Prigmore said the new exhibit proves the museum is capable of putting together an exhibit different than what's been done in the past. Prigmore encourages anyone in the public with a collection or other exhibit-like material that may be of interest to the public to contact the museum.

The exhibit will display in the Arlene LeMaster Gallery room in a full black light environment to enjoy the full-size and glowing miniature pieces.

According to Roberta Bell's son, Jupiter Ehrlich, Allan and Roberta Bell Ehrlich published about 200 of the posters and other items as part of Third Eye Inc. in New York City. Roberta Bell designed about 14 of the posters, and served as founder, art director and vice president.

Among the artwork on display are Marvel Comics heroes Iron Man and Spider-Man, among others. Comic book writer Stan Lee, who co-wrote these heroes, died Monday in Los Angeles, Calif., at the age of 95. The Third Eye bought the rights to publish posters and greeting cards of Marvel Comics, and distribute these products all across the country.

The company also published art from other creators all over the nation.

Originally, the company's goal was to sell the posters as assessable artwork for $1 each to wholesalers. Generally, the museum said, the posters sold for $2 in retail stores. Today, these posters can sell from $500-$1,000 each.

The 50th anniversary of these works also will be celebrated, and in doing so, a few framed pieces kept in "immaculate condition" will be for sale. Provided with the pieces will be signed certificates of authenticity.

The museum is located at 303 Dewey Ave., Poteau, in the historic downtown area. It is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibit will run until the end of the year.