Norman Rockwell exhibit at Covenant Living

Greg Asimakoupoulos displays magazine covers.

  • Monday, February 3, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

Special to the Reporter

At the beginning of a new decade residents at Covenant Living are glancing backwards as well as looking forward. The focus of their peek at the past is an exhibit of Norman Rockwell memorabilia displayed by the campus chaplain Greg Asimakoupoulos. Chaplain Greg began collecting Norman Rockwell magazine covers three decades ago after visiting the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Although Rockwell was best known for his illustrations on the cover Saturday Evening Post, his work was also featured on McCalls, Look and Life. The number of periodicals that used Rockwell’s art inspired Asimakoupoulos to celebrate Rockwell’s unique contribution to American culture with a caption contained in the display case.

“Norman Rockwell established the norm in how we look at life,” Asimakoupoulos said of the work. “He reminded us just how simple what we long for really was. He drew well. But, his brush, like a wand, worked magic with paint. Though not a saint, he was an American original.”

The chaplain’s collection includes covers that feature presidential candidates Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson. The exhibit also includes covers of comedy legends Bob Hope and Jack Benny.

Contrary to what many might think, not all of Rockwell’s illustrations were on magazine covers. A unique section of the exhibit is devoted to line drawing advertisements by Rockwell that were inside the magazines.

“The first Rockwell ad I purchased was for Mass Mutual Insurance Company,” Asimakoupoulos said. “The teenage boy, sitting at his manual typewriter in his bedroom contemplating current events while his parents looked on, reminded me of me.”

Rockwell’s ability to picture the way life was in a simpler time is what contributes to Asimakoupoulos’ fascination with the illustrator who died in 1978. His appreciation for Rockwell art has been passed on to one of his three grown daughters. Daughter Allison, who lives in Snoqualmie, has her own collection. The oldest item in the chaplain’s collection is a cover for The Country Gentleman magazine. It bears the date of January 1921. There are also copies of The Literary Digest and Saturday Evening Post from 1923.

“Although I’ve been aware of Mr. Rockwell’s unique way of portraying American life since I was a kid, I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to search for original magazines in antique stores and thrift shops,” Asimakoupoulos said.

[flipp]

More in Opinion

Clyde Ford speaks at Bellevue First United Methodist Church. One of the things he spoke about was how other countries have approached the topic of race and racism. Samantha Pak/staff photo
We need to, but how do we talk about race? | Windows and Mirrors

Racism is still an issue in this country. How can we have constructive conversations to move forward and heal?

Teaching kindness and empathy in schools | LETTER

Kindness Matters initiative at MISD.

Letter to the Editor, Jan. 22, 2020

MIYFS Foundation Breakfast

United Methodist Church: To split or not to split | Windows and Mirrors

Local clergy from Eastside United Methodist Churches weigh in on the church’s future regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Prescription for a 2020 Vision | On Faith

A monthly column dealing in matters of faith.

Come for the conversation, stay for the friendships | Windows and Mirrors

Talk Time classes allow English language learners to practice their speaking and conversation skills.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Despite ruling on Public Records Act, we need to keep a close eye on Olympia

Washington Supreme Court upholds that state legislators are subject to the Public Records Act.

Helping neurodivergent students navigate higher education | Windows and Mirrors

The Neurodiversity Navigators program at Bellevue College offers various services to students who are on the autism spectrum.

When asked their opinion on contract talks, they were silent

A 2017 law lets lawmakers offer negotiation topics. But a bipartisan panel didn’t do so this week.

Changing systems doesn’t happen overnight | Windows and Mirrors

It’s been a year since the Menchie’s incident and here is what the city of Kirkland has been working on since then.

Discerning fact from opinion

It can be more difficult than people first think, according to the Pew Research Center.

Our newspapers have many reasons to be thankful

Changes have had positive impacts, readers offering support.