(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Joseph "Joe" Gray made a name for himself co-founding Gray Manufacturing with his father, an industry leader in service vehicles. However, the St. Joseph businessman has a 50 year side hustle filling up the walls at Albrecht-Kemper Museum.
“It has to be something that catches my eye, something that speaks to me as I would say,” said Joe Gray, Co-founder of Gray Manufacturing and art collector.
Albrecht-Kemper Museum has curated 143 pieces out of Gray's 1,300 piece art collection as part of Smithsonian Day and in celebration of his 99th birthday.
The exhibit, 'The Joe Show: Selections from The Gray Manufacturing Corporate Collection," begins Saturday, September 23rd until November 7th.
Gray's passion for art collecting began in the 60's, a hobby sparked by his wife, Anne.
“I had no interest at all in art, but my wife was an amature artist. I started making picture frames for her and I just gradually got interested in it,” said Gray.
Friday morning, Gray toured the curated collection of priceless artworks alongside museum staff before the public reveal.
Up until this point, the collection had only been displayed at Gray Manufacturing offices. Gray said having artwork displayed increased employee morale and work effort. Saturday will be the first time the collection will be available to the public.
"I think he has a real emphasis on beautiful, something that is technically very well executed," said Jill Carlson, Marketing Director of Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph.
Gray hopes people will take time to appreciate the artwork and find each piece's takeaway.
“It just amazes me to go to a museum and watch people come through and they check this one off and that one off and they haven’t seen one of them," said Gray, "I hope that they find something that the art speaks to them, the artists’ message comes through.”
'The Joe Show' and a second exhibit celebrating Missouri's Bicentennial through art, 'Missouri Art Now,' will be on display for visitors participating in Smithsonian Day. Both exhibits will be on display until November.
Smithsonian Day at Albrecht-Kemper Museum runs from 1-4 p.m.