Grand opening set for art gallery at new location
By Judy Cato, Special Writer
The old Maurice Griffin & Co. store in downtown Corydon, which operated on the square from 1897 to 1983, has a new look and a new tenant: Harrison County Arts. The historic building, with its cupola lighting the staircase, is a work of art itself. Ladders from the store, some of the old cabinets and exposed brick were kept by the gallery for both historical and aesthetic interest. New gallery lighting, fresh paint, shiny floors and exuberant art give the appearance that the building was originally designed as an art gallery.
The inaugural exhibit at the gallery’s new location began May 18 and will continue to July 2.
The interior — extending between Beaver and Chestnut streets — provides space for the three exhibits that are happening simultaneously.
Downstairs on the Beaver Street side, the Director’s Invitational includes 30 works by regional artists, chosen by gallery director Julie Schweitzer “to highlight the diversity and tremendous talent of our Southern Indiana artist community,” Schweitzer said.
One of those artists is Harrison County sculptor Larry Beisler, who carved the limestone sculpture in front of the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center in Corydon. One of his works for this show, Ocean Spirit, Beisler said, “was carved from a poplar log taken from a 200-year-old cabin that had been designated for burning.”
His other sculpture, Conversation, was carved from blue pearl alabaster from Italy.
The painting Nightbirds and Blackberry Vines, by Crawford County artist Keith Hampton. almost looks like a tapestry woven from fabric.
Corydon artist Wendi Smith, known throughout the region for her adaptations of ritual forms to natural content, contributed Fetish Box to the exhibit.
And Corydon’s Brian Jones, president of the board of directors of Harrison County Arts and known internationally for his printmaking, contributed Full Moon, an abstract landscape print.
There is more to see in this exhibit.
The exhibit on the Chestnut Street side of the gallery includes more than 50 pieces by the artist members of Harrison County Arts, including paintings, sculpture, pottery, photography, wood carving and jewelry.
The second floor of the gallery is devoted to an exhibit of paintings by the late Linda Shoults, former president of Harrison County Arts board.
“It was Linda’s dream to move the gallery to this beautiful space,” said Inez Voyles, a board member since 2016. “Linda started gathering information for the move, raising funds and taking preliminary steps in 2016. Although she is not here physically for the opening, her joyful spirit is alive in all of us who knew her and worked with her.”
Shoults moved to Corydon from Kansas with her life partner, Jim Hays, in 2015. She was known in both Kansas and Indiana for her landscapes. Whether she was painting the woodlands, creeks and farmsteads of Southern Indiana or the wide-open spaces, prairie fires and skies of Kansas, Shoults was intent on capturing the unique quality of light that created a mood.
Shoults wrote in her artist statement: “Light is what attracts me the most to a landscape … from diffused understory light which adds mystery, to the bright dancing light hitting the open prairies.”
The second floor of the gallery has been named in her honor: The Linda K. Shoults Resource Center.
“This center will be used mostly for lectures, workshops and classes aimed at connecting with the community,” Schweitzer said.
The gallery’s grand-opening reception will be Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The dedication of the Linda K. Shoults Resource Center will be Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.
The gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.