A century ago, in 1917, a who’s who of Hoosier artists—T.C. Steele, William Forsyth, Otto Stark, Carl Graf, Wayman Adams, Marie Goth, and 40 other prominent painters—founded the state’s oldest juried artists’ organization.
While they may only be letters home from ordinary soldiers, the missives gathered in Letters from the Greatest Generation: Writing Home in WWII are historical documents at their finest. First published as Letters from Fighting Hoosiers in 1949, the collection was compiled after the Indiana War History Commission placed newspaper announcements soliciting letters from soldiers. Of the 3,500 it received, the commission selected 131 for publication.
Alejandro Gómez Guillén’s love affair with music started early. The artistic director and conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (BSO) pointed toward a violin at a symphony concert when he was 4 years old and said, “I want to do that.”
When he moved to Bloomington in 1985 at the age of 15, Jason Wilber says he found a vibrant music town. “Bloomington had lots of good musicians, good record stores, and good places to play,” says the guitarist, 47, who is about to release his 10th solo album, Reaction Time.
The room where Ellen Starr Lyon paints is just steps from the front door of her family home. Situated at the nexus between the kitchen and other living spaces, Lyon’s husband, two teenage children, and dog crisscross the room as she works, allowing her artistic ambitions to breathe and flourish within the center of her domestic universe.
On a momentous day in 1975, in the pulp-and-paper town of Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, a stout 8-year-old boy was taken by his mother’s hand to see his first live play. The show was Godspell and the boy was Randy Timothy White. The performance made such an impression on young Randy that for the first time he began to question his future occupation—maybe he wouldn’t be a hockey player after all. Maybe his future was in the theater.
The corner of Fourth and Rogers streets is a 10-minute walk from the downtown Square, Bloomington’s traditional nucleus of arts and entertainment. But David and Martha Moore, co-owners of Pictura Gallery, a fixture on the Square for a decade, are developing a new gallery and event space they hope extends cultural entertainment to the city’s Near West Side.
Shortly before Angelo Pizzo began making some of Hollywood’s most beloved underdog movies, the Bloomington native nearly became a leading man himself. In a plot worthy of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, Pizzo caught the eye of one of television’s most powerful agents, who offered him guaranteed stardom.
While it’s true the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art closed its doors in May for major renovations, Director David Brenneman says the museum is still a player in the art community. “The closure won’t circumscribe our activities,” he says. “We’ll still be out in the world.”
Traditionally, art galleries have been the major supporters of local artists, offering them places to exhibit and sell their work. Now, in many cities, Bloomington among them, nonprofit agencies, government entities, and for-profit businesses are supporting artists by purchasing art that reflects the local community.
In December 2016, the Lilly Library at Indiana University made news when it received two more Oscars won by legendary film director John Ford. The library now has four of the six Academy Awards earned by Ford, who died in 1973.