‘Mills of South Missouri’ Opens Sept. 1 in Dobbins Center Gallery

Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus and the Department of Art announce the opening of “Mills of South Missouri,” an oil painting exhibition on display in the Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center Gallery.

The exhibition will feature the work of local artist Dave Carter. An exhibition reception is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Sept 1. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 27 in the Dobbins Gallery. Admission is free.

Carter depicts the beauty and history of 15 mill sites throughout southern Missouri. He became interested in water mills after visiting Bollinger Mill near Burfordville, Missouri, with his wife, Sally. As they visited other mills they were increasingly impressed by the unique qualities of each mill.

“Each mill is something special,” said Carter, who has visited over 40 mill sites. “It may be the mill structure itself, the water source, the topography, or the history.”

Throughout his travels, he’s noticed the various state of structural conditions the mills are in, Carter said. While many are in excellent shape and even operational, most are in poor condition and vulnerable.

“Some mills are government owned, whether federal, state, county or local community, and these tend to be in excellent shape and to some degree still operational,” Carter said. “Most mills are privately owned and they range from barely there to completely restored or so modified they are unrecognizable.”

Carter and his wife feel it is important to document the mills and increase interest, and he is accomplishing this through research, photographs and oil paintings.

“It is our hope that by establishing accurate locations on a south Missouri map, doing our best to sort through the conflicting information for each mill, taking thousands of photos, and creating a large body of oil paintings, we can help generate interest in this important aspect of our communal history,” he said.

Carter earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, ceramics and photography from Truman State University. He has exhibited his work in locations throughout Missouri including St. Louis, Manchester, Sikeston, Jefferson City, O’Fallon, Sedalia, Kirksville and Cape Girardeau.