PROVO — J. Kirk Richards had just performed as a soloist with the Utah Valley Symphony when he announced to his parents that he was through with the French horn and intended to pursue a career in art.

Brigham Young University's Harris Fine Arts Center was actually his first exposure to art as he passed through the galleries on his way to music lessons during elementary school. "Those artists became my heroes — Bruce Smith, Wulf Barsch, James Christensen," he says.

He at first was disappointed when a mission call came for the Italy Rome Mission, but "within an hour of receiving that call, I knew it was the perfect place for me." In fact, during the two times when Richards was living in the Rome area as a missionary, he was able to visit the Vatican Museums on two occasions and to absorb the city's colors, textures, and architecture every day.

Those muted rusts and browns, the varied textures, and elements of the great works of art he saw are reflected in his paintings which are hanging in the Springville Museum's Music Gallery through Oct. 15.

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