ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s a collection that’s been seven years in the making, and has traveled to more than 50 venues across Missouri. Artist Billyo O’Donnell’s collection of 115 original oil paintings, each one representing a county in the Show-Me State, will be on display starting tonight at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.

“This is it, this will be the last chance for people to see the paintings together, I think, as a collection,” he says.

The works are featured in the book “Painting Missouri,” which won the governor’s Distinguished Literary Award in 2009, with essays on each county written by Karen Glines.

Billyo says it’s an art book, but also a document of Missouri since Lewis and Clark.

What happens to the paintings after this final showing?

“A lot of people were hoping the state would purchase it, but these are tough times, I think, for the state. What we’re going to do is we’re actually going to offer them online through the Painting Missouri site,” he says.

For his painting of the city of St. Louis, Billyo got a unique vantage point: From atop the dome of the Cathedral Basilica.

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