When creativity meets summer

By Katy Creagh, Art and Culture Program Developer

As an artist, I was always creating something when I was on summer break from elementary school. From trying to make my own pottery using clay in my backyard to making handmade birthday cards for my friends, expressing myself artistically — even if I didn’t realize it at the time — was my favorite summertime activity.

Because my creativity took over my mother’s dining room on more than one occasion, my parents put me in art classes. I LOVED it! I also LOVED arts and crafts time when I attended camp, vacation Bible school and any other summer activity my parents signed me up to attend.  And once I was old enough to sign myself up, I studied art in college and graduate school just so I could continue expressing myself and keep having as much fun as I did in my dining room back home.

If you know a child who enjoys making art and expressing their creativity as much as I did when I was little (and now that I’m all grown-up), make sure to sign them up for Indiana Artists Camp! As director of the camp, I can guarantee that the campers will have a week full of art making, creative experiences and fun activities. Learning about sculpture, making their own pottery and painting en plein air (painting outside) will be among the activities sure to captivate campers all week long. And to add an Indiana twist, we’ll be gaining our inspiration from some of the best Indiana has to offer in the field of visual arts.

Although I’m partial to art, you should know that the Indiana State Museum has six other fun filled Summer Camps as well. From Archaeology to Crime Scene Indiana State Museum, Paleontology I and II to Exploring Nature and History Alive, there is a topic to interest anyone. So, even though I’m busy preparing for Indiana Artists Camp, I am confident painting with a broad brush and promising your child will enjoy their summer if they come spend it with us at the Indiana State Museum.

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Lessons on Indiana

by Anne Fairchild, Eastern Region Program Manager for the State Historic Sites

Last Friday, I headed up from the Lanier Mansion in Madison to Ball State University campus in Muncie to meet with elementary education majors studying social studies curriculum with Dr. Ron Morris.

One of the key components of this class is to create curriculum for Indiana historical sites to use with teachers. The group pictured here include Sarah Neal, Senior Elementary Education major from Orlando, FL; Katelyn Fields, Junior Elementary Education major from Noblesville, IN; and Klara Howards, Senior Elementary Education major from Upland, IN. 

They developed two separate units for the Indiana State Historic Sites, including The Indiana Frontier and Pre-1865 transportation along the Whitewater Canal.

The essence of these lesson plans is to take students beyond surface messages (like the date Indiana was settled) and delve into deeper issues (like how a community worked together in 1825) and how some of these core issues are still with us today.

I really appreciate the work done by these students and others like them not only because these students are finding ways to use our sites to teach their curriculum for themselves, but for teachers and students throughout the state of Indiana.

Thanks Ball State, Dr. Morris and students Sarah, Katelyn and Klara!

Teachers who are interested in any of these curriculums should contact Anne Fairchild at afairchild@indianamuseum.org.

On Expedition at the Indiana State Museum

By Krystle Buschner, Science & Technology Interpretation Specialist

A new program titled Expedition! is premiering at the Indiana State Museum this Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21.  It is a game similar to Oregon Trail, but slightly different. Expedition teams will be traveling through 19th century Indiana to complete scientific objectives (even “hunt” with rubber band rifles!) or their team will face consequences. 

In anticipation of Expedition!, the education staff decided to go on their own expedition … through the Indiana State Museum:

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During the Expedition! program, leaders will explore a cave and uncover fossils, identify three rocks or minerals, find a new discovery, identify three types of soil found in Indiana, and encounter a Native American tribe. We hope to see all expedition leaders on April 20 and 21!

REPRESENTING The Business of Art

By Kisha Tandy, Asst. Curator of History & Culture

"The Road Less Traveled" by Mason ArchieDo you dream of becoming an artist and have you ever wondered just what it would take to become one? Well… those answers and more will be answered at “The Business of Art” workshop scheduled for this Friday from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Indiana State Museum. A special panel of experts will convene to discuss individual artistry as a career and life option. The workshop is open to artists at all career stages and the topics for discussion will include: 1) successful exhibit proposals; 2) artist credentials; 3) getting noticed as an artist; 4) grant opportunities, and 5) completing a grant application.

The panelists are detailed below.

Photographer, William “Bill” Rasdell, has worked in Indianapolis since 1975 and has a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors. His art has allowed him to travel to Cuba and South Africa. Of his longevity he comments, “Community involvement. It’s crucial to let people know that you’re there. I’ve volunteered my services to political campaigns, civic groups and social organizations. And not always as a photographer. It was all about networking.” Leah Reeder is also an accomplished photographer whose work was recently displayed at the 3R Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana. However, her “day job” keeps her busy showcasing the work of other artists.

 Teaching is a passion of Herron of School Art and Design Professor Vance Farrow and Carol White, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Director of Studio and Community Art Programs. In both of their positions they are training future artists.  Farrow and White, still find time to create original art work and exhibit in Indiana and across the country.

Shannon Linker is an arts advocate and works hard to promote local artists. In September 2011, Susan Watt Grade writing for NUVO described Linker as “a force for Indy’s arts.” Her involvement is evidenced in Gallery 924 which she manages as well as throughout the city.

The panelists have years of experience and a wealth of knowledge so please come prepared to ask questions.

Attendees must register by calling 317.232.1637. The registration fee is $8 per person and $5 with a student ID.

Ahoy, Mateys!

By Krystle Buschner, Science & Technology Interpretation Specialist

Feb. 25, 2012, marked the first day of class for 11 eager boat building students and, in less than two weeks, the skiff will be ready for its first maiden voyage down the canal.

Doug Jones, owner of Sailing Afternoons, has held class here at the Indiana State Museum every Saturday morning. What started as the simple skeleton of a skiff has transformed into a beautiful boat in a matter of weeks.

(l-r) In the beginning, there were boards … and with lots of hard work and elbow grease … they were transformed into a boat!
(Photos courtesy of sailingafternoons.com)

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 21 to see the finished boat set sail on the downtown canal, right outside the museum doors!

Taming the wisteria

by Davie Kean, Master Gardener at T.C. Steele State Historic Site

Money doesn’t grow on trees in Brown County, but wisteria does. Long ago, Selma Steele planted the wisteria that covers this pergola with lavender blossoms each spring. This year it is blooming exceptionally early, along with the lilac in the foreground and the dogwood in the background.

Three species of wisteria grow in the U.S. including a native one, W. frutescens, but the Japanese and Chinese types are more common — and more invasive. Wisteria is a fast-growing vine that can reach up to 30 feet tall when supported. Unfortunately, when your house becomes the support, battle lines (and pruners) must be drawn. It’s hard to keep ahead of the rapid growth as creeps under shingles and twines around nearby trees.

Those unfamiliar with the plant might ask the name of this beautiful ‘tree’ (in the photo to the left) but it is just an ‘escaped’ wisteria, climbing up at the forest edge (to the detriment of the actual tree).

One way the vigilant gardener can enjoy this beautiful vine is by training it into a shrub form. By careful pruning and lots of patience, this can be the result:

There’s still time to enjoy these blooms close-up, but hurry or you may have to ‘settle’ for masses of peonies and iris instead. I encourage you to visit T.C. Steele State Historic Site this spring. Like wisteria, it will grow on you.