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Texas man finds artist's painting, donates to Tubman Museum in Macon

Will Pugh was visiting Atlanta for a wedding. He stopped at a thrift for and found Keith Bankston's painting.

MACON, Ga. — Will Pugh is a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Last year, he and his wife were in Atlanta for a wedding. Pugh told 13WMAZ, he likes to visit thrift stores and antique shops while traveling. He stopped at thrift store in Covington and a stack of paintings caught his attention. He says the bright colors and signature was what drew him to a painting by Keith Bankston.

"I started researching the artist right away, and and I found that he was a Georgia native," Pugh said. 

Keith Bankston was born and raised in Macon. He taught art within the Bibb County School District. The painting Pugh found was called "Eve in the Rose Garden." The Biblical meaning is what made Pugh do some research about the painting and the Macon artist. He found out Bankston has other paintings at the Tubman Museum. 

"That's when I reached out to the Tubman Museum, and then we communicated that, and then I sent it to them, and they have it in their possession right now," Pugh said.

Tubman curator Jeff Bruce told 13WMAZ they have shown Bankston's paintings in the past. Before 'Eve in the Rose Garden' joined, two other paintings were shown. Bruce says having the newest painting allows the museum to tell the artist story further.

"His work is especially valuable and important to us and this institution," Bruce said.

The curator says the paintings show people what African American creative expression can be. Bankston traveled to Paris after graduating from high school. He was inspired to start a career in art. Pugh says keeping the painting in Central Georgia is what's important to him.

"It just kind of completes the circle."

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