It’s been known as “the little gallery that could,” but the Brown County Art Gallery may have to drop that sobriquet when it nearly doubles its size.

The gallery is “half-way there” in its campaign to raise $2 million for an expansion that will house two new collections, provide additional space to display the historic permanent collection as well as works by current artists, and create an art center and studio that could train future artists, says Brown County Art Gallery Foundation President Lyn Letsinger-Miller.

Major donors are sponsoring new galleries that will feature the work of Gustave Baumann (1881-1971), a renowned woodblock artist who did his early work in Nashville, and the town’s own William Zimmerman (1938-2011), whom Letsinger-Miller describes as “a premier bird artist.”

The Sexton/Baumann Gallery will focus on the early work of Baumann, a German immigrant “who thought woodblock could be a fine art and formed an etchers’ club in Nashville,” Letsinger-Miller says. The gallery will include Brown County’s own Baumanns and donated prints from the Baumann estate, as well as work owned by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Sexton of Brownsburg, who provided the funds to build the room that will house the collection.

Brown County Art Gallery

A painting by William Zimmerman. Courtesy photo

Zimmerman is best known for his meticulous attention to accuracy in his paintings, as seen in The Birds of Indiana, Waterfowl of North America, and many other collections of his art. In addition to the Baumann and Zimmerman galleries, the expansion plan includes three galleries that will be used for rotating exhibits, Letsinger-Miller says.

“We are now focusing on space for living Hoosier masters,” she says. “For years people have said that Brown County needs an art center. Well, we are the original art center, so we said let’s include that in the expansion plan.”

The blueprints call for a 1,600-square-foot art education center where artists could come and conduct workshops, space for Indiana Heritage Arts to stage its art competition, and a large exhibition hall that will be home to the art gallery’s 35-member Artists Association. With a waiting list, the additional space will allow the association to add to its membership. “We hope to break ground in the spring,” Letsinger-Miller says.

The $2 million campaign includes funds for an endowment to support the gallery in the future. Click here for more information.