FEATURES

An Astounding Adaptation

In 1985, when Marsha Herman-Betzen and Keith Betzen told their daughter, Rachel, then 8, they were going to buy a ramshackle, four-story house on 10 wooded acres near Unionville, Indiana, she wept.

Hardware Store Modernism

Tucked away on a small side street in an east-side neighborhood, Laura Plummer and Michael Nelson’s ultra-contemporary home stands in contrast to everything that surrounds it.

Sheltering in Style

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomingtonians, like the rest of the world, found themselves spending significantly more time at home—working, home-schooling children, or just staying safe.

A Modern Home with a Sense of History

Their future home had been on the market for just two hours when Sharon and Brad Fugate stepped inside with real estate agent Scott Owens in April 2012.

Photographers of Bloom: James Kellar

James Kellar’s photography interest began as a young teen when his father taught him to develop film and print pictures in a converted bathroom.

Photographers of Bloom: Haley Brown

Haley Brown has been a professional photographer for more than 10 years and enjoys photographing landscapes, interior and exterior commercial buildings, portraits, and more.

Photographers of Bloom: Jim Krause

Jim Krause describes himself as “an accomplished adventurer, photographer, documentarian, teacher, writer, producer, musician, and composer.”

The Photographers of Bloom Magazine

When Bloom was founded 15 years ago, we pledged that not only would the writing be first rate, but that the design and photography would be also.

Nicole Browne: Monroe County Clerk

As early voters wrapped around the block in downtown Bloomington last fall, Nicole Browne, the first Black woman elected as Monroe County’s Clerk of Courts, often walked out to greet them.

Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde: Exploring the Legacy of Slavery

In 2014, Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde was the first person to earn a doctorate in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University—a distinction that was groundbreaking not only in its accomplishment, but also for the revolutionary nature of the research she continues to do.

Larissa Danielle: Visual Artist

Artist Larissa Danielle’s multimedia work has often been inspired by political and social realities. In 2020, those realities felt particularly overwhelming.

Dr. Tashera Perry: Obstetrician-Gynecologist

“Fun fact,” says Dr. Tashera Perry, an OB/GYN with Indiana University Health, adjunct clinical assistant professor for the IU School of Medicine, and the associate chief medical information officer for IU Health South Central Region. “I’m a high school dropout.”

Jenn Cristy: Musician

Jenn Cristy has a credo for these challenging times: “Be kind and have conversations with people.”

Gladys DeVane: Storyteller

Gladys DeVane, 81, is a storyteller, scriptwriter, and actor. She first learned stagecraft competing in oratorical contests as a child and acting in plays in high school and college.

Vanessa McClary: Kiwanis Leader

Whether it’s ensuring that local elementary school children have winter coats or cheering up the Bloomington skyline with hot air balloons, Vanessa McClary cares that the work she does in the community has tangible results.

Elizabeth Mitchell: Historian

For more than 40 years, Elizabeth Mitchell has been documenting African American history and correcting the white version of that history.

Selena Drake: Social Justice Advocate

Selena Drake, who was raised in Gary, Indiana, says she never truly experienced racism prior to attending Indiana University. A racially charged incident that occurred as she started her freshman year in 2016 changed that.

Black Women of Bloomington: Recognizing Their Accomplishments & Contributions

The achievements of Black women are being recognized nationally as never before, thanks to the ascent of Kamala Harris to the vice presidency, the impact of Black women on the presidential election, and the several Black women appointed to cabinet and other key government positions. Finally, and long overdue.

15th Annual Wedding Guide

There is an existential expression that pretty much sums up the year 2020: “Man plans, God laughs.”

Doris Sims: 40 Years in Public Service

Doris Sims has seen the country “go through hills and valleys” when it comes to race. “A lot—especially within this past year—has happened within our country with dealing with racial inequality, and dealing with issues of equity and diversity,” she says.

Dixie Ferrer: Texture Artist

Brown County resident Dixie Ferrer considers herself an artist of texture, exploring the combined mediums of oil paint and cold wax.

Joel Washington: Music Is His Inspiration

A self-taught artist, Joel Washington’s work can be found in Bloomington galleries and restaurants, in departments across Indiana University, and at the Indiana State Museum.

Jennifer Mujezinovic: Portrait Painter

For four years, Bloomington’s Jennifer Mujezinovic painted the whimsical portrait covers for the All About children’s book series. After 12 total book covers, Mujezinovic has decided to begin taking a new creative direction.

Meg Lagodzki: Painting an Unnatural Landscape

After Meg Lagodzki had a serious illness that resulted in the removal of her thyroid, she was entirely unable to speak for two months, and then only in a whisper for a year. Depressed, she coped by returning to oil painting, something she had given up for 10 years to focus on her family.

Mark Blaney: Versatile Artist

Even before painter and ceramicist Mark Blaney moved to Bloomington in 2010, he had contributed artwork to various local arts endeavors, including albums and publications by local composer Malcolm Dalglish.

Kevin Pope: Artwork That Tells Stories

Cartoonist Kevin Pope has illustrated for Playboy magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Mad Magazine, the NBC animated show Sammy, Pepsi TV commercials, and the comics Inside Out and The Far Side.

Jerome Harste: Multi-Genre Artist

Upon retiring from Indiana University as a distinguished professor of literacy, culture, and language in 2006, Jerome Harste began studying with renowned artists in several states.

Patricia Rhoden: Prolific Artist

After 37 years as an art teacher, Patricia Rhoden retired in 2013 and now spends most days creating oil and acrylic paintings in her Nashville, Indiana, studio. Much of her work is impressionistic, and she’s known for her silver and gold leaf floral landscapes.

Joe and Bess Lee: Art with a Cause

In 2019, husband-and-wife team Joe and Bess Lee exhibited more than a dozen 2 1/2-by-3-foot acrylic paintings on paper in the style of mid-20th-century circus sideshow banners in a show called Professor Animalia’s Menagerie of Struggling Species in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

Amy Brier: Stone Carver

In the age of digital modeling and 3-D laser printers, working with a hammer and chisel may seem “kind of archaic,” admits stone carver Amy Brier. But it’s precisely this connection to human origins that makes her craft compelling.

Martina Celerin: Tapestries That Tell a Story

Martina Celerin’s fiber art combines traditional weaving techniques with felting and reclaimed materials like shells, rocks, and old jewelry to create tapestries that tell a visual story.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Economy

Remember that we all share many more values than we have differences. When we vote, we won’t be doing it for our candidate, we will be doing it in no small part for our beloved Bloomington.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: LGBTQ+ Rights

Discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, particularly those who identify as transgender, is still very much a reality, and this is all the more true for LGBTQ Hoosiers, since Indiana offers fewer protections than many other states. Your vote in this election will help determine our future.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Media

Choked. Smashed. Tear-gassed. Pushed. Assaulted. Hit. Grabbed. Shoved. Targeted. Shot with projectile. Caught in crossfire. Struck. Pepper sprayed. Arrested. Threatened. Slammed. Chased. Attacked. Robbed. Held at gunpoint.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Law Enforcement

These are unprecedented times. Unless you have been living on the high seas, devoid of all interaction with the world, you have witnessed as I have the unrest, distrust, and uncertainty plaguing this country.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Education

In higher education, state support for our universities has declined precipitously. Our universities are no longer “state-supported.” At best they’re “state-assisted,” with funding falling to approximately 20% of need.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Partisanship vs. Polarization

The challenge Americans face these days is, in the words of conservative fundraiser Greg Munford, “to engage in passionate disagreement while not damaging the political freedom which allows for that constructive disagreement.”

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Pandemic

The current administration, ideologically, wants to do nothing. It wants to let the virus liquidate the old and unwell; to purge the “rotten” out of society. It wants to take a long run on wishful-thinking vice action, the long run to fanciful herd immunity.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Courts

The courts are squarely in view now, along with the 2020 pandemic and so much else at stake November 3. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us: For our country’s long-term health, few election issues outrank the power of the president to appoint and the Senate to confirm federal judges.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Arts

The arts are having a moment. Called on to serve as both a witness to tragedy and an inspiration to act, artists have channeled the grief of a nation into eloquent works of art centered on Black lives, social justice, and economic equality.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Race Relations

We must utilize our constitutional right and civic duty of voting to mobilize that “people power” while we remove those who are intolerant and foster distrust.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Women’s Rights

Sleep-deprived women worry about housing, un(der)employment, home schooling, stalled career prospects, child care, elder care, birth control, medical care, welfare benefits, violence, addiction, divorce, and safety.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Guns

Like many other social, cultural, and public health issues, firearm safety doesn’t and can’t exist in isolation from other developments, such as civil rights, ideological extremism, redistricting, national and household economic health and inequality, and health care accessibility.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Environment

The two major presidential candidates, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, have both said they are trying to find a balance between economic prosperity and clean air, water, and land for all—but their approaches are vastly different.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment was first for a reason. It exists to keep our government and its agents from destroying the conditions necessary for democratic self-government. A government that does not lead its people toward tolerance and open debate leads them away from democracy.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Safety Net

Prior to COVID-19, 37% of all Hoosiers (nearly 1 million households) were already struggling, either living in poverty or hovering right above it in a category United Way refers to as ALICE—Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Democracy

Democracies are not Energizer bunnies, running forever like perpetual motion machines. Democracies wind down. They get sloppy . . . And they can die.

Nicole Johnson: Giving Back to Communities in Need

Nicole Johnson has seen the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of residents in subsidized housing. She lives in Crestmont, a mixed-generation, densely populated, low-income area of Bloomington’s West Side. “I come from a background where I’ve used social services,” she says. “Why wouldn’t I want to give back?”

Chris Morron: Nurse Helped Build Hospital Response

Registered Nurse Chris Morron has eyes on everything from pre-admission testing to post-anesthesia care. A manager in surgery administration, Morron has been with Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital for 26 years. So when go-time came to prepare for an influx of coronavirus cases, she was a natural.

Savannah Powell: Helping Immigrant Families

Diane Legomsky, former executive director of the Bloomington Refugee Support Network (BRSN), recalls how BRSN coordinator Savannah Powell arrived at a public event for the volunteer- run nonprofit organization. Powell greeted Legomsky with a question: “What can I do?”

Katy Howe: Leading Hospital’s Emergency Department

Katy Howe has gotten good at watching for storm clouds. She’s even better at finding their silver linings. Formerly with Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital’s emergency trauma center, Howe joined IU Health Bloomington Hospital as director of emergency services shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leah Steele, Middle Way House: Patience and Positivity in a Time of Crisis

Middle Way House, a nonprofit organization that provides services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault and their children, has helped people work through periods of crisis for nearly 50 years. It should come as no surprise that its commitment to advocacy didn’t falter with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abby Ang: Finding Resources for Marginalized People

COVID-19 is frightening enough for people with prominence and a voice in the community. For marginalized people—the unemployed, minorities, and the poor—it can be terrifying. With a new organization called Monroe County Mutual Aid, their voices can now be heard.

Fire Chief Jason Moore: Professional Risk Manager

If any profession is equipped to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-shifting risks presented by the pandemic, firefighters are at the front of the line, says Jason Moore, chief of the Bloomington Fire Department.

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FEATURES

An Astounding Adaptation

In 1985, when Marsha Herman-Betzen and Keith Betzen told their daughter, Rachel, then 8, they were going to buy a ramshackle, four-story house on 10 wooded acres near Unionville, Indiana, she wept.

Hardware Store Modernism

Tucked away on a small side street in an east-side neighborhood, Laura Plummer and Michael Nelson’s ultra-contemporary home stands in contrast to everything that surrounds it.

Sheltering in Style

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomingtonians, like the rest of the world, found themselves spending significantly more time at home—working, home-schooling children, or just staying safe.

A Modern Home with a Sense of History

Their future home had been on the market for just two hours when Sharon and Brad Fugate stepped inside with real estate agent Scott Owens in April 2012.

Photographers of Bloom: James Kellar

James Kellar’s photography interest began as a young teen when his father taught him to develop film and print pictures in a converted bathroom.

Photographers of Bloom: Haley Brown

Haley Brown has been a professional photographer for more than 10 years and enjoys photographing landscapes, interior and exterior commercial buildings, portraits, and more.

Photographers of Bloom: Jim Krause

Jim Krause describes himself as “an accomplished adventurer, photographer, documentarian, teacher, writer, producer, musician, and composer.”

The Photographers of Bloom Magazine

When Bloom was founded 15 years ago, we pledged that not only would the writing be first rate, but that the design and photography would be also.

Nicole Browne: Monroe County Clerk

As early voters wrapped around the block in downtown Bloomington last fall, Nicole Browne, the first Black woman elected as Monroe County’s Clerk of Courts, often walked out to greet them.

Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde: Exploring the Legacy of Slavery

In 2014, Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde was the first person to earn a doctorate in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University—a distinction that was groundbreaking not only in its accomplishment, but also for the revolutionary nature of the research she continues to do.

Larissa Danielle: Visual Artist

Artist Larissa Danielle’s multimedia work has often been inspired by political and social realities. In 2020, those realities felt particularly overwhelming.

Dr. Tashera Perry: Obstetrician-Gynecologist

“Fun fact,” says Dr. Tashera Perry, an OB/GYN with Indiana University Health, adjunct clinical assistant professor for the IU School of Medicine, and the associate chief medical information officer for IU Health South Central Region. “I’m a high school dropout.”

Jenn Cristy: Musician

Jenn Cristy has a credo for these challenging times: “Be kind and have conversations with people.”

Gladys DeVane: Storyteller

Gladys DeVane, 81, is a storyteller, scriptwriter, and actor. She first learned stagecraft competing in oratorical contests as a child and acting in plays in high school and college.

Vanessa McClary: Kiwanis Leader

Whether it’s ensuring that local elementary school children have winter coats or cheering up the Bloomington skyline with hot air balloons, Vanessa McClary cares that the work she does in the community has tangible results.

Elizabeth Mitchell: Historian

For more than 40 years, Elizabeth Mitchell has been documenting African American history and correcting the white version of that history.

Selena Drake: Social Justice Advocate

Selena Drake, who was raised in Gary, Indiana, says she never truly experienced racism prior to attending Indiana University. A racially charged incident that occurred as she started her freshman year in 2016 changed that.

Black Women of Bloomington: Recognizing Their Accomplishments & Contributions

The achievements of Black women are being recognized nationally as never before, thanks to the ascent of Kamala Harris to the vice presidency, the impact of Black women on the presidential election, and the several Black women appointed to cabinet and other key government positions. Finally, and long overdue.

15th Annual Wedding Guide

There is an existential expression that pretty much sums up the year 2020: “Man plans, God laughs.”

Doris Sims: 40 Years in Public Service

Doris Sims has seen the country “go through hills and valleys” when it comes to race. “A lot—especially within this past year—has happened within our country with dealing with racial inequality, and dealing with issues of equity and diversity,” she says.

Dixie Ferrer: Texture Artist

Brown County resident Dixie Ferrer considers herself an artist of texture, exploring the combined mediums of oil paint and cold wax.

Joel Washington: Music Is His Inspiration

A self-taught artist, Joel Washington’s work can be found in Bloomington galleries and restaurants, in departments across Indiana University, and at the Indiana State Museum.

Jennifer Mujezinovic: Portrait Painter

For four years, Bloomington’s Jennifer Mujezinovic painted the whimsical portrait covers for the All About children’s book series. After 12 total book covers, Mujezinovic has decided to begin taking a new creative direction.

Meg Lagodzki: Painting an Unnatural Landscape

After Meg Lagodzki had a serious illness that resulted in the removal of her thyroid, she was entirely unable to speak for two months, and then only in a whisper for a year. Depressed, she coped by returning to oil painting, something she had given up for 10 years to focus on her family.

Mark Blaney: Versatile Artist

Even before painter and ceramicist Mark Blaney moved to Bloomington in 2010, he had contributed artwork to various local arts endeavors, including albums and publications by local composer Malcolm Dalglish.

Kevin Pope: Artwork That Tells Stories

Cartoonist Kevin Pope has illustrated for Playboy magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Mad Magazine, the NBC animated show Sammy, Pepsi TV commercials, and the comics Inside Out and The Far Side.

Jerome Harste: Multi-Genre Artist

Upon retiring from Indiana University as a distinguished professor of literacy, culture, and language in 2006, Jerome Harste began studying with renowned artists in several states.

Patricia Rhoden: Prolific Artist

After 37 years as an art teacher, Patricia Rhoden retired in 2013 and now spends most days creating oil and acrylic paintings in her Nashville, Indiana, studio. Much of her work is impressionistic, and she’s known for her silver and gold leaf floral landscapes.

Joe and Bess Lee: Art with a Cause

In 2019, husband-and-wife team Joe and Bess Lee exhibited more than a dozen 2 1/2-by-3-foot acrylic paintings on paper in the style of mid-20th-century circus sideshow banners in a show called Professor Animalia’s Menagerie of Struggling Species in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

Amy Brier: Stone Carver

In the age of digital modeling and 3-D laser printers, working with a hammer and chisel may seem “kind of archaic,” admits stone carver Amy Brier. But it’s precisely this connection to human origins that makes her craft compelling.

Martina Celerin: Tapestries That Tell a Story

Martina Celerin’s fiber art combines traditional weaving techniques with felting and reclaimed materials like shells, rocks, and old jewelry to create tapestries that tell a visual story.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Economy

Remember that we all share many more values than we have differences. When we vote, we won’t be doing it for our candidate, we will be doing it in no small part for our beloved Bloomington.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: LGBTQ+ Rights

Discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, particularly those who identify as transgender, is still very much a reality, and this is all the more true for LGBTQ Hoosiers, since Indiana offers fewer protections than many other states. Your vote in this election will help determine our future.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Media

Choked. Smashed. Tear-gassed. Pushed. Assaulted. Hit. Grabbed. Shoved. Targeted. Shot with projectile. Caught in crossfire. Struck. Pepper sprayed. Arrested. Threatened. Slammed. Chased. Attacked. Robbed. Held at gunpoint.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Law Enforcement

These are unprecedented times. Unless you have been living on the high seas, devoid of all interaction with the world, you have witnessed as I have the unrest, distrust, and uncertainty plaguing this country.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Education

In higher education, state support for our universities has declined precipitously. Our universities are no longer “state-supported.” At best they’re “state-assisted,” with funding falling to approximately 20% of need.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Partisanship vs. Polarization

The challenge Americans face these days is, in the words of conservative fundraiser Greg Munford, “to engage in passionate disagreement while not damaging the political freedom which allows for that constructive disagreement.”

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Pandemic

The current administration, ideologically, wants to do nothing. It wants to let the virus liquidate the old and unwell; to purge the “rotten” out of society. It wants to take a long run on wishful-thinking vice action, the long run to fanciful herd immunity.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Courts

The courts are squarely in view now, along with the 2020 pandemic and so much else at stake November 3. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us: For our country’s long-term health, few election issues outrank the power of the president to appoint and the Senate to confirm federal judges.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Arts

The arts are having a moment. Called on to serve as both a witness to tragedy and an inspiration to act, artists have channeled the grief of a nation into eloquent works of art centered on Black lives, social justice, and economic equality.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Race Relations

We must utilize our constitutional right and civic duty of voting to mobilize that “people power” while we remove those who are intolerant and foster distrust.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Women’s Rights

Sleep-deprived women worry about housing, un(der)employment, home schooling, stalled career prospects, child care, elder care, birth control, medical care, welfare benefits, violence, addiction, divorce, and safety.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Guns

Like many other social, cultural, and public health issues, firearm safety doesn’t and can’t exist in isolation from other developments, such as civil rights, ideological extremism, redistricting, national and household economic health and inequality, and health care accessibility.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: The Environment

The two major presidential candidates, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, have both said they are trying to find a balance between economic prosperity and clean air, water, and land for all—but their approaches are vastly different.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment was first for a reason. It exists to keep our government and its agents from destroying the conditions necessary for democratic self-government. A government that does not lead its people toward tolerance and open debate leads them away from democracy.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Safety Net

Prior to COVID-19, 37% of all Hoosiers (nearly 1 million households) were already struggling, either living in poverty or hovering right above it in a category United Way refers to as ALICE—Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed.

VOTE—What’s At Stake: Democracy

Democracies are not Energizer bunnies, running forever like perpetual motion machines. Democracies wind down. They get sloppy . . . And they can die.

Nicole Johnson: Giving Back to Communities in Need

Nicole Johnson has seen the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of residents in subsidized housing. She lives in Crestmont, a mixed-generation, densely populated, low-income area of Bloomington’s West Side. “I come from a background where I’ve used social services,” she says. “Why wouldn’t I want to give back?”

Chris Morron: Nurse Helped Build Hospital Response

Registered Nurse Chris Morron has eyes on everything from pre-admission testing to post-anesthesia care. A manager in surgery administration, Morron has been with Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital for 26 years. So when go-time came to prepare for an influx of coronavirus cases, she was a natural.

Savannah Powell: Helping Immigrant Families

Diane Legomsky, former executive director of the Bloomington Refugee Support Network (BRSN), recalls how BRSN coordinator Savannah Powell arrived at a public event for the volunteer- run nonprofit organization. Powell greeted Legomsky with a question: “What can I do?”

Katy Howe: Leading Hospital’s Emergency Department

Katy Howe has gotten good at watching for storm clouds. She’s even better at finding their silver linings. Formerly with Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital’s emergency trauma center, Howe joined IU Health Bloomington Hospital as director of emergency services shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leah Steele, Middle Way House: Patience and Positivity in a Time of Crisis

Middle Way House, a nonprofit organization that provides services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault and their children, has helped people work through periods of crisis for nearly 50 years. It should come as no surprise that its commitment to advocacy didn’t falter with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abby Ang: Finding Resources for Marginalized People

COVID-19 is frightening enough for people with prominence and a voice in the community. For marginalized people—the unemployed, minorities, and the poor—it can be terrifying. With a new organization called Monroe County Mutual Aid, their voices can now be heard.

Fire Chief Jason Moore: Professional Risk Manager

If any profession is equipped to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-shifting risks presented by the pandemic, firefighters are at the front of the line, says Jason Moore, chief of the Bloomington Fire Department.

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