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MAC acquires new piece for permanent collection
“The Annual Hair-Cut” by Art Young, donated by Robert N. Halsted is on permanent display at the Monroe Arts Center.

MONROE — A new art work is now on display as part of the Monroe Arts Center’s permanent collection. “The Annual Hair-Cut” by Art Young was donated by Robert N. Halsted, a resident of Monroe. 

Art Young was an American cartoonist and writer born in 1866 near Orangeville. His family moved to Monroe when he was about one year old. His father, Daniel S. Young, owned a general store on the northwest corner of the downtown square where he would display his young son’s caricatures in the store windows. 

According to an article in The Wisconsin Magazine of History, “Art Young: Cartoonist from the Middle Border,” published by the Wisconsin Historical Society, “Everybody liked Art Young, the cartoonist out of Monroe, Wisconsin. His talent with pen and ink, combined with his witty and ingratiating personality won him friends in high places and low.” Art Young was best known for his liberal leaning, political cartoons. Even though Young spent most of his adult life in Chicago and New York, it is said that he retained “a measure of nostalgia for the small midwestern town he had left behind.” 

Bob Halsted, a lifelong student of history, was drawn to the stories of Art Young’s time in Monroe as a youngster. Born and raised in Junction City, Kansas, Bob as young man worked in the local Woolworth and loved the stories of Young’s time at the General Store in Monroe. Halsted believes that small towns are the best places to live in hard times, as well as good times, stating that, “Small, friendly communities help each other.” He wanted to donate a piece of Art Young’s artwork to MAC and Monroe because it connects the town and area farms with its past and one of Monroe’s first artists. 

“To have a work of art by an artist of the stature of Art Young is real gift to the entire community,” said Kathy Hennessy, Executive Director at the Monroe Arts Center. The piece is on permanent display on the second floor of MAC.