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Painter's Pad Preserved

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Thomas Hart Benton moved to Kansas City in 1935 to teach at the Kansas City Art Institute, where he produced the predictably controversial and indisputably sexxxy "Persephone," an American regionalist interpretation of the mythical story of the goddess of fertility. The work now hangs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (see Thursday). This was just one milestone in a long, controversy-courting artistic career, and the Thomas Hart Benton House at 3616 Belleview is an artifact of an era in which paintings could still produce outrage. It was in this Victorian house that Benton raised children and produced the bulk of his output. He died in the house's studio at age 85 while working on a mural depicting the history of country music. The house is preserved as a museum by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The studio, converted from a carriage house, remains as it was at the time of Benton's death, and visitors can view many of the artist's paintings at the site. The house is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours cost $2.50 for adults or $1.50 for students; children 6 and younger are admitted free. Call 800-334-6946 for more information. Thomas Hart Benton Home
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 2008

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