Kenneth Evett


Kenneth Evett

Evett Painting the "Labors of the Hand" inside the Nebraska State Capitol. Courtesy Evett Family.

Kenneth Warnock Evett was born in Loveland, CO in 1913. Evett’s formal art training came at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs, where he received a scholarship after a chance encounter with a wealthy neighbor. Evett’s first big artistic break occurred when he was awarded a commission to paint a mural for the Humboldt, Nebraska Post Office. He would then be awarded another 5 commissions for post offices in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Evett bounced around the country working various jobs until he landed a 31-year career at Cornell University. Evett primarily taught in the Fine Arts Department, but also helped organize art festivals and other campus events. During this time, he gained increasing public recognition for his artistic abilities. In 1954, Evett won a nationwide juried competition to paint three murals for the Nebraska State Capitol building.

A Nebraska legislator offered mocking comments about the “modern” art in the Capitol, which brought Evett some unwelcome national-level publicity.

Evett was also a gifted writer and wrote abut architecture, art, and whatever visual experience mattered to him. His writings were featured in New York magazines and he was even offered a full-time art critic position at one. Evett died in 2005 at the age of 91. He is still recognized as an important figure in Cornell’s rich artistic history.


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