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Ag Progress Days' Silent Auction Includes a Lucky Find

by and on August 10, 2014 1:45 PM

Any visit to Ag Progress Days — being held Aug. 12 through 14 — should include a stop at the Pasto Ag Museum. There is much to see, learn and do there.

A big crowd favorite — the silent auction — will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 12 and 13. The bidding will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Some remarkable items will be available at the auction, including a John Deere Tractor donated by Valley Ag and Turf and a framed original drawing by Reedsville Pennsylvania Artist Anne K. Fisher. The framed original 12 by 16-inch pen and ink drawing is titled, "Who Spilled the Milk?" It depicts an Amish mother and children.

Fisher's work hangs in many buildings and homes in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Fisher lived from 1925 until 1977. A native of Lewistown, Fisher graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1946 with a degree in photography and art. She worked with her father and uncle at Lewistown's Kepler Photographic Studio until 1966 when she took a job in the graphic arts department at WPSX television. In 1970, Fisher decided to become a partner in the family's antique business and left Penn State.

Fisher lived among the old-order Amish on a farm along Honey Creek in Mifflin County. She used pencils and brushes rather than a camera to document their way of life. (From an announcement of an Anne K. Fisher Exhibit, Sept. 13-22, 1995 at Centre Furnace Mansion.)

In the same announcement Fisher says, "Every Saturday evening evening for the last fifteen years our family has visited the family on the farm next to ours. This is a typical Old-Order Amish family and I can truthfully say that it has taken me this long to really know and understand them. I don't think you can paint Amish life in one summer and be reasonably understanding about it."

Many of Fisher's paintings and drawings have been exhibited in the state museum in Harrisburg, on the Pennsylvania State University campus, at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the Mifflin County Library. Collections at Mennonite colleges in Kansas and Ohio also contain her works.

Raymond E. Harmon wrote a book as a memorial to her entitiled, "The Life of Iva Anne Kepler Fisher." The book was published and distributed by the Brown Township Library and Museum Association. Many copies of Fisher's drawings are included in the book. The book was dedicated to Fisher's three sons: Forest Kyle, Matthew Howard and Henry Scott. Forest Fisher is on the Board of Mifflin County Historical Society.

John and Jane Ziegler of State College have donated Fisher's framed original to the Pasto Museum for the silent auction.

"Jane and I were already familiar with Anne Fisher's work and one day at Apple Hill Antiques, I spotted a drawing in a grotesque frame. I recognized it as Fisher's work and purchased it. The Apple Hill Owner said he had broken the glass while transporting the drawing and had placed it in the frame," John Ziegler says.

"I told him he could keep the frame," John quips.

According to John, the drawing ought to bring between $1,500 and $2,000 that would go to the Pasto Museum for the important work there.

The Pasto Museum, in conjunction with the Centre County Historical Society and Centre Furnace Mansion, is offering the exhibit, "Everyday Objects — Fancy forms and Familiar Functions" this year. You can glimpse life as it was in earlier agricultural times at the museum. You can view red ware, textiles, baskets, sewing implements and gardening tools that were commonplace items in most homes in the 19th Century.

Outside the museum, The Friends of Ohio Barns and Timber Farmers Guild will cut timbers by hand, form mortise and tenon joints, and assemble a frame structure that will be the size of a garden shed. Midday on Thursday the Pasto Museum will hold a "barn raising." Sound interesting? Check the top of Main Street for details and the exact time.

Other attractions include a poultry collection, a milk bottle collection, a history of the dairy industry exhibit and hands-on activities. "Hands-on" means you can try grinding grain, peeling apples and lifting weights with pulleys, just to name a few possibilities.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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