Bryan College is the permanent home to a collection of 50 prints by acclaimed Dayton watercolor artist Susan Cassidy Wilhoit. Called The Magnificent Fifty, the collection infuses in its viewers a profound sense of public pride and a shared sense of accomplishment. Wilhoit has captured the unique legacy of each state in her renditions of these awesome public structures. Although many are similar in design, the paintings reveal the diverse ideals, values, and aspirations of their citizens.
Together, the watercolors symbolize the power accorded the states by our Constitution as well as the inherent responsibility to public service. The Magnificent Fifty provides viewers with a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the visions of individual states, while emphasizing the shared goals that make the nation strong.
About Our Exhibit
- Each print in the Bryan collection is hand signed by the artist and marked as “AP1,” Artisit Proof 1. Wilhoit intends eventually to have the original watercolors purchased and displayed by an art museum.
- The exhibit subtitle, Foundation of Faith, was selected to reflect the theme and presentation of Bryan’s collection. Beneath each print is a sign that provides educational information such as statehood date and the building’s architectural style and construction date. Each sign’s main focus, however, is to provide an example drawn from each state’s heritage that shows its foundational belief in and acknowledgement of God’s providence and blessing. While we regularlyly hear the loud harangue of those who seek to separate church and state, this exhibit quietly and elegantly stands as a testament to our country’s foundation of faith.
- At the main entrance to the exhibit, we feature another Wilhoit print that introduces the The Magnificent Fifty collection; namely, the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The print is about twice the size of the statehouse prints and provides a grand introduction to the exhibit.
Tour the Exhibit
The exhibit is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Mercer Hall, except for holiday breaks when college offices are closed (check our web calendar).
To begin your self-guided tour, enter the middle doors of Mercer Hall on the parking lot side of the building. In the lobby reception area, you will see the U.S. State Capitol print. Twenty-one statehouse prints are on Mercer first floor; 29 are on the second floor.
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The Fifty Statehouses