Trutter’s art and architecture
The Trutter Center at Lincoln Land Community College presents “Trutter: Black and White.”
Art and artifacts from the travels of Springfield architect Philip Trutter and his wife, Mary Kathryn Trutter, are on display along with black and white photographs of Trutter’s architectural projects, which include Capital Airport, the Municipal Building West, Franklin Junior High School and Washington Junior High School.
Trutter graduated from the University of Illinois with an architecture degree in 1938 and began practice in Springfield, designing nearly 50 schools as well as churches and public buildings in the area. Trutter won acclaim for his design of Springfield’s Hope School, now part of the Hope Institute for Children and Families, according to museum director Janet Semanik.
In 1952 Trutter retired so that he and Mary Kathryn could travel the world and begin their collection of art and artifacts. They visited some 100 countries and collected 700 items. After Trutter died in 2000 the family bequeathed much of the collection to Lincoln Land Community College with a cash gift to establish the museum. The Trutter Center opened in 2004, and this is the seventh exhibit there.
For this exhibit Semanik asked members of the Springfield Camera Club to interpret Trutter’s buildings with a photographic eye. Members Cynthia Gallo Callan, Steve Jacobs, Jim Johnston, Norm Langhoff, Linda Gorman Reed, Karl Vogl and Bob Wangard contributed photos to the project.
Camera Club member Karl Vogl made a long exposure (about 15 seconds) of the Municipal Building West and fountain shortly after sunset as well as an abstract photo of the west façade of the building with its art deco style letters. Both are striking.
Cindy Gallo Callan’s photos of the Hickox Apartment Building just north of the Springfield YMCA on Fourth Street feature architectural details. They offer a different perspective of the building. “Doing this project has helped me put my photography into perspective,” Callan said. She is teaching “The Eye of the Heart,” a contemplative photographic process for adults this fall.
Jim Johnston photographed Capital Airport for this project. His photos may prompt viewers to make a trip to the airport to take another look at the architecture of the building.
Longtime photographer Norm Langhoff said, “This is an extraordinary opportunity for people to express themselves. Just look at what they’ve done.” For this show Langhoff photographed the Christian Church of Litchfield, Hillsboro Junior High School and LeRoy Elementary School.
Included in this exhibit from the Trutters’ remarkable collection are a Hindu religious totem, a ceramic water jug from Peru, an opium pipe and ritual cast bronze wine vessel from China, canoe paddles from Fiji and tiny Japanese netsuke. The black and white artifacts are a nice complement to the black and white photos in the show. Trutter’s slide rule and architectural drawing tools are also on display.
Local printing firm Frye-Williamson made photographic prints for the show. It is a fitting tribute to the architect’s 26-year career in central Illinois.
The exhibit will be on display through May 18. The Trutter Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. For more information call 217-786-2217 or email llccfoundation@LLCC.edu.
Ginny Lee of Springfield is a photographer and frequent contributor to Illinois Times.