The Harold Kee Welch Studio – Franklin “Chico” Welch plays during the Spoon River Drive -Photo by Cheri Howlett

Smithfield, Illinois is where the studio of artist and muralist Harold Kee Welch is located. The studio and museum is located in the old telephone building which was originally a bank. During the Spoon River Drive, Welch’s studio was open and his son Franklin “Chico” Welch played his violin entertaining guests as they looked at Welch’s artwork. Like a pied piper, his melody drew visitors into the studio to be wowed with the art that was created decades ago.

Born in Smithfield, Welch has created hundreds of paintings, carvings, murals and sculptures that are in private collections all over the country. His 16’ x 80’ mural depicting the life of Abraham Lincoln and Illinois that was originally commissioned by the first National Bank of Springfield is currently being considered for reinstallation at various places.

His wood-relief carving “The Good Samaritan” hangs in Peoria’s Memorial Hospital. The artist returned to Smithfield in 1963 with his wife and five children working in this studio he created many watercolors of the Spoon River drive where he lived and worked over the years

For information about those watercolors, call 309-783-3121.