One Tank Trip: Thomas Hart Benton Home provides picture-perfect glimpse into untouched artwork

(Illustration by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

If you only had one tank of gas to go to the destination of your choice, where would you go?

While COVID-19 restrictions eased up in some places, finding things to do that comply with safety guidelines and restrictions is tough. The Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio Historic Site is a great option for anyone looking to get out of Manhattan and do something with only a tank of gas.

American artist Thomas Hart Benton dabbled in many different mediums, including paintings, murals and lithographs. His content — for the most part — focuses primarily on societal issues in rural America during the 1920s and 1930s.

Benton spearheaded the Regionalist movement with other artists, rejecting European modernism and embracing heartland subjects. Benton’s artwork is found in museums around the country, but his roots run deep in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio is nestled in a neighborhood in midtown Kansas City at 3616 Belleview Ave., just a few hours from Manhattan. Scheduling a tour ahead of time isn’t necessary as there are guided tours every 15 minutes. People can also walk through the home and studio at their own pace.

The humble Victorian-style home showcases Benton’s life, inspirations and work. One major inspiration for his artwork was music. The front door opens into the living room displaying several instruments and paintings of his children playing instruments.

The guided tours share the facts and history of each room, but the studio is one of the coolest parts of the house. Benton converted half of his carriage house into a studio, which remains untouched and preserved since he died of a heart attack while working there in 1975.

Benton’s art supplies remain exactly where he left them. However, the nearly completed mural he was working on for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum now hangs unsigned in the Nashville museum.

The Thomas Hart Benton House and Studio Site has COVID-19 restrictions in place to ensure visitors’ safety.

The home and studio is a wonderful option for any art or history buff looking for somewhere to go with only a tank of gas.

Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.