The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries recently announced the first exhibition of 2018: America — the Dream of an Artist’s Life featuring the works of Emil Holzhauer. Throughout 2017, 50 works from the NWFSC Permanent Collection were on loan from the Arts Center Galleries to the Museum und Galerie im Prediger in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, the birthplace of artist Emil Holzhauer. The works were shown there as part of a trilogy of retrospective exhibitions honoring Gmünd’s most famous artistic exports, all of whom made their names in the United States — Holzhauer, Emanuel Leutze, and Regina Baumhauer.

America — the Dream of an Artist’s Life celebrates the return of Holzhauer’s paintings to Niceville. The exhibition is on view in the McIlroy and Holzhauer Galleries through March 2. Accompanying the show in the Corridor Gallery are recent gifts to the Holzhauer Collection, some of which are on public view for the first time.

The public is invited to attend a special reception honoring the artist and his work from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 3. Join with friends, patrons, collectors and Holzhauer enthusiasts in celebrating the homecoming of the Holzhauer Collection. Local author Dr. Audrey Edwards will be on hand to sign copies of her book, "Emil Holzhauer: The Portrait of an Artist." Light refreshments will be served.

Since 1967, Northwest Florida State College has been charged with the tasks of preserving the artworks of painter Emil Eugen Holzhauer (1887-1986). What began as a promised gift of 400 works has grown into a nationally-recognized permanent collection and has enriched the college’s arts and educational programming, visual appeal and institutional reputation. The college provides perpetual care and display of the collection with a priority given to showing the versatility and accomplishments of the artist and preserving the art he created and collected over a lifetime.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 90 minutes prior to most MKAC Mainstage performances. The Galleries are always free and open to the public.