Don Huff: Painter of Memories on display in The Curt Bessette Art Gallery

Don Huff: Painter of Memories is the latest exhibit in The Curt Bessette Art Gallery at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, during the library’s open hours. You won’t want to miss this display that portrays many local scenes.

Don’s daughter, artist Pattie Purnell, provides an excellent biography featuring Don’s amazing background:

Don Huff started his art career 70+ years ago as a sign painter for the US Navy in World War II.  He studied fine arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati going on the GI bill.

Don creates his works in oils with incredible detail and bright colors. His painting portfolio includes many 1st place awards in oils at some of the finest art shows. Don has also participated in many solo shows. His work is on display as far away as New York, Canada, Germany and California. These realistic oil paintings have been displayed in restaurants, banks, churches, train stations, theatres, Chamber of Commerce offices, galleries and fine homes.

Don likes to make custom portraits of people in motion, using skills in their own surroundings to make the painting uniquely their own. He favors painting subjects from the local community such as local train stations, river boats and historic sites. His works illustrate heartwarming moments and capture windows to a time now past in small town American life reminiscent of Americana artists such as Norman Rockwell. Don’s historically valuable imagery will be sure to invoke fond memories.

Stop by the Main Library before November 10 to see Don’s work on display.  If you are not comfortable coming into our building, Don’s work can be viewed on his website or check out the Don Huff video.


Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.

Meet Samantha Henwood – Early Education, Motherhood & Smiles!

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute. Just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became a mom, wife, and work here. In Northern Kentucky, I was born and raised. Learning about Early Education is how I spent most of my days…

No, really. I started learning about Early Education from the time I was seven and I’m still learning. My mom introduced me to the Early Education world. Growing up in the inner city, while most of my friends enjoyed going to all the yearly festivals, local parks, and swimming pools, I loved going to Early Education training sessions with my mom.

As I grew, my interest in Early Education expanded, along with my passion for understanding the development of the human brain. I think it’s an exciting and fascinating subject! I volunteered at my mom’s workplace as soon as I could, walking there every day after school. Learning anything and everything I could about supporting the development of a child from professionals that I still consider some of the All-Stars in the Early Education field.

Once in high school, I started working at a childcare center as an intern. Right out of high school, I started college and I worked for one of the largest Early Education companies in Northern Kentucky. I was made a supervisor after only a year of employment. After a few years there, I decided to open my own in-home child care center. Things were going great. During this time my high school boyfriend turned into my husband and we married three years after we graduated from Conner High School.

My family is everything to me and I was raised spending just as much time with my third and fourth cousins as I did with my first cousins. My family has always been the core of who I am so I was excited to start a new adventure with my husband. Two years later we had our first daughter. A year after that we were expecting twins. Life always seems to have a way of keeping you on your feet. Little did I know I was about to embark on a journey that would change me forever. Looking at my twins today it all makes sense, but during my pregnancy, their size difference worried the doctors. They were constantly doing tests trying to figure out what was wrong because the twins were so different in size. So much so, they put me in the hospital at fourteen weeks.

I was then faced with leaving our oldest for the first time and terrified for the wellbeing of my twins. My career and further education had to be put on hold. Everything I worked so hard for didn’t matter as much anymore. At 31 weeks, after months of poking, prodding, ultrasounds, and tests, the twins were born. They arrived two months early. I remember getting wheeled into the NICU for the first time and seeing that our daughters were so small and helpless. Nurses and doctors were surrounding them and in a glimpse, I understood they both might not come home.

I spent every second I could with them, with my mini-me always tagging along with me. I would tell them all the things we were going to do together. They just had to get stronger so we could get out of there. Looking back, my family and my faith in God are the only things that got me through in one piece.

The twins were able to come home two months later. The NICU is a place that changes you forever. The common “it could never happen to me” mindset dies, and you learn how precious every moment really is. The next year of our lives was spent going to doctor visits, follow-up appointments, and talking with development specialists. Appointments where my knowledge of Early Education came in handy.

My life’s path changed, and I tried to be okay with it. My babies were home and growing and healthy. I should have been happy but the desire to learn and grow in the Early Education world never went away. So although my girls are the joy, happiness, and beauty in my life and my whole world revolves around being their Mama, I went back to work as a home visitor for a preschool literacy program at a non-profit. I worked at night after my husband got home and I started online college classes.

I was working hard to support the double life I was now living; being Mama during the day and Early Education home visitor at night. Not a second of my experience was easy, but I used the fighting spirit I learned from my daughters in the NICU to get through. I needed to show my daughters that going after your dreams isn’t always easy. You have to put the work in, but when it’s all said and done, it’s worth it. I just graduated from Thomas More University in August.

Since then, my youngest twin was diagnosed with dyslexia, which I explained to her is her superpower. It’s like what Anurag Prakash Ray said, “Life is what you make it. So why not make it a beautiful one, full of happiness and joy.” I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and I am a glass-half-full kind of girl. I know that this new journey my daughter is on will only make her stronger. I look forward to watching my daughters grow up and seeing everything they become.

I loved coming to the library with my girls, and being a youth programmer has always been a dream job. So when I saw the position posted, I jumped! I started at BCPL in May of 2019 as a Youth Services Programmer at the Hebron Branch. So while I haven’t been part of the BCPL family long, it’s safe to say I absolutely love my job. I love my co-workers and look forward to coming to work. I also love working with customers and planning fun events and storytimes. To see a few of my storytimes, check out the Library’s YouTube page!

Being silly, spreading smiles and sunshine are some of my favorite things to do. I love supporting children and their families as they learn and grow. I know it really does take a village to raise a child and I feel so honored that I get to be a part of that for the families we serve. I look forward to a long career at BCPL. Next time you see me say “Hey Sam!” and I’ll be happy to share a smile with you.