By Darla McCammon and guest author Darlene Romano
This week, we want to introduce readers to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and everything that it has to offer.
Fort Wayne is not considered a large metropolitan area, but the art museum has provided permanent and special exhibits for the community to enjoy that rival museums in much larger cities. The museum has impressed me through the years with special exhibitions, its growing permanent collection and its efforts to reach out to the community and artists in Northern Indiana.
Artists often struggle to reach a broader audience for their work, so it was a welcome surprise a few years ago when the museum offered local artists the opportunity to have their work displayed in a special exhibition. The event begins with the works being juried (judged) in order to be selected for the exhibit. Local artists like me were thrilled to see our work accepted and on display. As an artist, it is always an honor to be selected to show my art in a prestigious museum like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
I have visited the museum on several occasions and always enjoy the vast permanent collection along with special exhibitions. In 2013, the museum announced a special exhibition to show the exquisite work of Dale Chihuly and his extraordinary glass creations. It was a privilege for the museum to procure this exhibition, especially since Chihuly’s exhibits were normally reserved for much larger art museums. I spread the word about the exhibition through this column and through word of mouth to as many artists and art lovers as possible and excitedly anticipated the very special exhibition.
Chihuly is a unique craftsman who uses molten glass to create his interpretation of a world often hidden. This exhibition, called “The Secret Garden,” was full of color and light and I was immediately entranced when I entered the exhibition and came face to face with a colorful installation of a pond with glass reeds growing at the edge and glass water lilies appearing to float on the pond. The reeds were easily six feet tall and were illuminated by the natural light and appeared to sway back and forth with the breeze.
I was so affected by his work that I decided I wanted to experiment with bringing that same appreciation of nature to the forefront in my own two-dimensional work. I was inspired to create something that encompassed the beauty of nature using both natural light and illumination in a new way. Visiting the Chihuly exhibition was an experience that I will carry with me and refer to for inspiration for many years to come.
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art dates to 1888 and encompasses 50,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday with free admission.
Regular admission is $10 with discounts for students and seniors. For families, the Knight Learning Center in the museum offers art-making activities and hands-on engagement stations that teach the elements of art.
The five special exhibitions available now are:
- Indiana Waterways: The Art of Conservation
- Garden Party: Outdoor Sculptures by Dorothy Gillespie
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Classic Toys and Americana
- Kaiyodo: Mini Artworks for the Modern Age
- The Glass Wing
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a hidden gem in northern Indiana. It is well worth your time to visit and enjoy.
Honeywell 92 County Competition: The juried artwork from the competition is on display through Feb. 13 at the Honeywell Clark Gallery in Wabash. Many of the juried pieces of artwork are for sale and can be purchased at the gallery box office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (260) 274-1411 or visit honeywellarts.org.
Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery: Local artist Deana Harvey will be displaying her artwork through the end of March. Make sure you stop by to view her work. To exhibit at Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery, contact Darla McCammon, curator, by leaving a message at (574) 527-4044 or by emailing [email protected].