The Hannibal Arts Council officially named a portion of its gallery space the Len Moss Gallery in honor of Hannibal artist Len Moss. The 101-year old long-time Hannibal resident has been involved with HAC since its beginnings and was also involved in the founding of the Hannibal Folklife Festival in 1976. He has held many roles and responsibilities within the organization, including organizing the HAC Coffee Booth for many years. His period costuming and dapper appearance has made him a quintessential image when locals think of Folklife.
As an artist, Moss has been featured in several solo exhibits in the HAC galleries throughout the years, including the inaugural exhibit at HAC’s facility when it moved to 105 S Main St. in 2009. His late wife, Norma (Donaldson) Moss, was also honored by HAC with the naming of the kitchen/workshop room in its current facility as Norma’s Galley, with galley being reminiscent of the Moss’ naval life for many years. It was also appropriate to name the kitchen after Norma, as she was the epitome of hospitality.
The biography of Moss would read like a novel. Some of the highlights of his life include that he was born in Missouri on December 13, 1916. His family moved to Texas, where he attended 6th-12th grades. He majored in art at Southern Methodist University and graduated in 1938 with a degree in Fine Arts and Languages. After college he rode freight trains across country and ended up on a fishing schooner at Gloucester, MA. Moss entered the US Naval Reserve at St. Louis, MO in 1940 and after completing flight training in 1941 served as a naval aviator. In 1942 he married Norma Donaldson and they had six children. Today his family includes three grandchildren and one great-grandson.
In 1969, after serving the US Navy in WWII, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War he retired and later moved back to Hannibal. He was married to Norma for 54 years until her death in 1996. He has continued to travel the world and stay active, something he enjoyed with Norma. For the past 20 years he and his companion Kathryn Bier have continued to travel. Still very active and sharp, he recalls his military service like it was yesterday. Moss’ colorful life is reflected in his paintings. Moss paints landscapes, portraits, and still life. Sometimes his art is inspired by his naval career, and sometimes it’s just because the subject itself is inspiring.
Stop by HAC to view Select Works by Len Moss in the Len Moss Gallery before March 24. His works are featured alongside several other exhibits currently on display. Regular gallery hours are 9-5 Mon, Wed-Fri and 11-2 Saturday. HAC is located at 105 S Main St in Downtown Hannibal.