The Champaign County Historical Society Museum is celebrating the opening of a new exhibit on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6-8 p.m.
The reception will showcase the artwork of local artist, Chester Hooley, and will include watercolors and signs.
The museum is located in Urbana at 809 East Lawn Avenue.
Mr. Hooley, born on July 5, 1899, graduated from Salem High School and Moore’s Business College. He worked as a sign painter and enjoyed painting as a hobby. He had some formal training in Columbus, but was mainly self-taught according to his granddaughter. He had a gifted artistic eye for layout and design and a very steady hand. After working with other sign companies, he started his own business, Hooley Signs, in 1929. He became well known as a sign painter and developed a sign painting signature of “Hooley Did It!”
He was also recognized nationally in 1955 when he won two awards in a national outdoor sign contest in which there were several thousand entries. The signs submitted were for Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan and Butler’s Inc. The signs were reproduced for publication in a booklet resulting from the contest entries and entitled “Americas Best Outdoor Signs.”
He retired from the sign business in 1967 to devote his time to painting for pleasure.
He experimented with several mediums including watercolors and oils and exhibited in shows throughout the state. In his correspondence with friends, he would send what he called a “Hooley Pictogram” — a painting on the envelope containing the letter.
He was a frequent exhibitor at the Springfield Art Center where he won several prizes, including a “Best of Show” in competition among the members. He also took awards in the Columbus Summer Arts Festival as well as the Champaign County Fair and the Ohio State Fair. He was a member of the Springfield Art Institute, The Columbus Art League, The Central Ohio Watercolor Society, and The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts.
There is no charge for the reception and the public is invited to attend.
Info from historical society