This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Thirsty Thursdays

The Jasper/Newton Foundation has a new series of events called Thirsty Thursdays: Tap into Your Community. I wanted to see what they were about so I attended the first on Thursday evening. It  was held at the Carnegie Center and its focus was arts and culture.

The attendance from the general public was low so the event was mostly a networking event for the representatives of the groups that did attend. Prairie Arts Council (PAC)was well represented and several people talked about Rock the Arts, the exhibitions in the Fendig Gallery and their Holiday Show. We also heard about Art League and the Prairie Writer's Guild. The Art League differs from the PAC in that it is mostly a group of artists who share ideas and help one another produce art. PAC organizes and sponsors exhibits, art camps and classes, and festivals. It has a much bigger membership than the Art League. However, a lot of the Art League folks are also members of PAC and the two groups work together. The Prairie Writers Guild is like the Art League in that it is a group of writers who encourage one another to write. It also produces books of writings from the group, the From the Edge of the Prairie books.

The other group represented was the Touch of Dutch Festival. It has roots back to celebrations in 1946 when the community was welcoming back veterans from WWII. For a number of years it was Town and Farm Days or Town and Country Days. At some point they decided to have a theme, and one year the theme was called Touch of Dutch. The next year newspaper mistakenly referred to the festival as the Touch of Dutch and the name stuck. But the name was kind of an accident.

The festival took a year off in 2011 and then moved to the new Spencer Park. Since then it has grown. This year it had 127 vendors. DeMotte will soon be getting a community center in the park. It will be able to seat 250 to 300 people.

The meeting took place in the Fendig Gallery, which has just opened a new and impressive exhibit called State of the Art: Art of the State. It is a juried show, which means that a person or group of people select what goes into the show from submitted entries. The show was open to current and former residents of Indiana, who submitted 277 works for possible inclusion. It is a big show, with pictures not only in the upstairs gallery but also in the conference room in the lower level. The show runs to November 3 with the reception and awards on Friday, Oct 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The Gallery is open from noon to 4:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Saturday from noon to 2:00.  One of the PAC members commented that usually one would have to go to Chicago or Indianapolis to see an art exhibit of this quality.

When I saw this very large picture, I wondered if it was a photograph. It is not. It is a charcoal drawing. It is also for sale and was the most expensive item that I saw in the show.

Below are three pictures showing the variety of subject matter in the pictures.

 These shoes with mice were done by a former Rensselaerian.
 One of the members who frequently shows at the Fendig Gallery did this very large fabric work.
 Below is a close up of one of the trees. The red leaves are all individual bits of cloth.
The picture below reminds me of some of my adventures in childhood.
 There are some very pretty landscapes in the show.

The Prairie Arts Council does an excellent job of arranging exhibitions, but this one stands out. It is part of their celebration of 25 years as an organization.

The future Thirsty Thursdays events are Oct 11 at the Fairchild House in DeMotte focused on education, Oct 18 at Fenwick Farms Brewery focused on Health and Wellness, Oct 25 at the George Ade Home near Brook focused on Historic Preservation, and Nov 1 at Embers Venue focused on Community Initiatives. The Jasper/Newton Foundation would appreciate a RSVP if you plan to attend.

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