Thursday, November 11, 6:30 p.m.
Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA
A free, inaugural event organized by the Quad Cities' newest non-profit Truth First Film Illiance Inc., a special screening of the documentary Stout Hearted: George Stout & the Guardians of Art will be held at Davenport's Figge Art Museum on November 11, the film's titular figure an Iowa native whose heroic actions in World War II were memorialized by George Clooney in the 2014 movie The Monuments Men.
Born in Winterset, Iowa, in 1897, Stout was a Navy reservist who was placed on active duty in 1943, and soon after joined the Twelfth Army Group. Because of his art-conservation background (Stout graduated from the University of Iowa and taught in the art department for years), he was one of the first recruited to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section (MFAA). The group was charged with the protection of and documentation of damages to European cultural monuments during World War II, as well as the investigation, location, recovery, and repatriation of art that had been plundered by the Nazis. While in Europe from 1944 to 1945, Stout supervised the inventory and removal of several thousand art works from repositories hidden in salt mines, churches, and other locations, and was appointed as the deputy commander of the MFAA.
In addition to celebrating his wartime accomplishments, Stout Hearted: George Stout & the Guardians of Art also explores Stout's pioneering efforts in the areas of art conservation, which elevated this discipline into the world of modern science. Many of his innovations are used today to preserve masterworks from deterioration and extinction, and to this day, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield continues the work of Stout L. Stout and the Monuments Men by protecting cultural heritage globally.
The documentary boasts interviews with historians, Stout’s family members, and biographers, and the film's director Kevin J. Kelley has won two Mid-America Emmy Awards, two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and three New York Festivals World Medals. With Kelley's wife Mary Wilkes the documentary's producer, the couple’s work has screened nationally and internationally at film festivals in Los Angeles, New York, London, Spain, and Germany, and their films have aired on HBO, PBS, ABC, CBS, and ESPN. Wilkes is also president of New Mile Media Arts, Kelley’s nonprofit film production company, and the filmmakers will take part in Q&A following the 81-minute Davenport screening. “What’s so great about documentary films," said Kelley, "or any film, is that you take the audience through the journey of this subject and then at the end you feel like you’ve been somewhere."
Stout Hearted: George Stout & the Guardians of Art will be screened at the Figge Art Museum at 6:30 p.m. on November 11, and Veterans Day admission is free for everyone from 5 to 8 p.m., with veterans admitted to the venue and its exhibits free starting at 10 a.m. For more information on the screening, visit TruthFirstFilmAlliance.org and FiggeArtMuseum.org.