Man, Evansville has some beautiful art! I’ve gone to countless galleries, exhibits, and museums over the years. A lot of times, the art just starts to run together in one big blur. To answer the art gripers, yes, I do take the time to really study and appreciate each piece. But you can only look at so much of the same pieces without starting to glaze over.
But Evansville’s two university art galleries really shook me out of my artistic torpor. I had a chance to visit the art galleries at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) and the University of Evansville (UofE), thanks to Laura Libs, of the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Michael Aakhus, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at USI, took us on a tour and gave us a thorough explanation of the Steuben Glass display, and showed us the Purchase Awards exhibit they were hosting. These are pieces of art the gallery has purchased from different student exhibits from the past 40 years, and this art was gorgeous. Each piece was distinctive and beautiful, and chosen for different reasons, but were all united by the beauty and the skill that went into creating each of them. As an added bonus, we actually had the gallery to ourselves, and Michael gave us the full-blown guided tour.
Finally, I learned that art is truly appreciated if there is a story to go along with it. Michael Aakhus was kind enough to lead us around the USI gallery and tell us stories of how some of the different pieces were acquired, who created them, and what their own history was.
University of Southern Indiana’s McCutchan Art Center & Pace Galleries
Bill Brown, the director of the U of E’s Peterson Art Gallery, showed us around their gallery, and talked about some of the artwork they were showing. We saw a series of sculptures and paintings, including one by Bill himself, which I am still convinced I saw somewhere. But my favorites, and the most captivating, were the houses by Nikki Pritchett. Her bright colors and recognizable design immediately made her one of my favorites, and I would have loved to purchase one of her pieces. That’s my new goal now is to buy one of her paintings.