Best of Indiana and plein air on exhibit at Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Sixty works by 42 members of the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association are on exhibition through Jan. 31 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main St. The FWMoA said artworks depict farmsteads, grand civic buildings, tranquil parks and other subjects.

Fifty years ago, Indiana joined the National Register of Historic Places program, and Hoosiers have been identifying spots of special cultural interest ever since.

In 2020, Indiana’s 2000th historic place was pending registration on the list hosted by the National Register, and the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association decided to commemorate it by hosting an exhibition challenge.

Partnering with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources — Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, the IPAPA asked Hoosier plein air painters to choose any historically registered spot in the state, and to paint it. Plein air painting happens when an artist goes outside and paints on location. Usually, no indoor work is allowed but during the pandemic crisis, artists were allowed a little indoor studio time.

Of the 215 paintings that were created for the challenge in 2020, 60 were chosen for the exhibition. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is hosting this exhibit until Jan. 31.

According to Kaitlyn Binkley, director of Visual Communications for the FWMoA, “The Fort Wayne Museum of Art agreed to become one of the display sites for this exhibition after learning of the caliber of artists that would be featured in the exhibition and also due to our commitment to featuring Indiana artists throughout our exhibition program each year.”

She continued, “Plein air painting in particular is especially strong in Indiana, and this style is fascinating for many since painting outside is a uniquely challenging and exciting way of working. IPAPA is a respected organization and our collaboration is a natural fit.”

Local Fort Wayne artists who are featured in this exhibit include Alan Larkin and Gwen Gutwein. As Binkley said, “There may be some artists whose hometown is Fort Wayne but that is not clear from the information that we have. We will be hosting a virtual talk with Alan Larkin about his work and the exhibition on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. on our Facebook page. Any and all are welcome to tune in and ask questions or leave comments on this episode of our continuing FWMoA Live series.”

The art exhibit will travel to the Historic Brown County Art Gallery in April, and then will move to the Richmond Museum in June and the Midwest Museum of Art in Elkhart in August. The FWMoA is discussing the possibility of purchasing some of the artworks.

This exhibition is supported by a grant from the Edna Foundation Fund.

In an announcement, th FWMoA said, “Artworks depict the full range of the state’s listed sites, from county seat towns, to ethnic heritage sites, historic houses, farmsteads, grand civic buildings and tranquil parks.”

Learn more about this exhibition, six other current exhibitions and three upcoming exhibitions at fwmoa.org.

The FWMoA is at 311 E. Main St. in downtown Fort Wayne next to the Arts United Center at the corner of Main and Lafayette. The parking lot behind the museum is owned by Arts United, and parking in the lot is free unless there is a performance or event at the Arts United Center.

Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The museum is closed Mondays.

General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for ages 65 and older, $6 for students preK through college, and $20 for families. General admission is free each Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

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