Indiana on my mind

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The historic First Baptist Church in Noblesville became The Birdie Gallery in 2006.

Since 1950, the Hamilton County Artists’ Association has displayed art exhibits across the nation. The association’s first exhibit of 2012 launches this Friday at The Birdie Gallery in Noblesville.

Focusing on Hoosier life and Indiana landscapes, “Indiana on My Mind” looks to portray the beauty in the most familiar and classic aspects of life across the state.

“Trio,” an original oil painting by local artist Ann Simons

Johnson

“We have 80 artists, but we never know until hanging day how many will be showing,” said Lori Johnson, publicity chairperson for the HCAA.

With such a large number of artists, space is at a premium. Each artist is given a certain amount of wall space and allowed to fill it with a number of paintings, depending on their sizes.

In 2006, the City of Noblesville granted the HCAA use of the historic First Baptist Church. Named after Roberta “Birdie” Bloomhorst, The Birdie Gallery became the HCAA’s first ever permanent space since its creation more than 50 years prior.

Through a number of generous grants, the HCAA was able to renovate the aging building and create a proper art gallery and teaching space.

“Teresa’s Tractor,” an original acrylic painting by Lori Johnson

“We all painted and fixed it up,” said Johnson. “We all pitch in, clean it and do the yard.”

Additional lighting worth $6,000 was recently added to the gallery in order to offer higher-quality art classes and a better overall art viewing experience.

Even after five years in its new gallery, the HCAA is looking to raise awareness of its existence throughout the nation.

“Our biggest problem is we are in a residential area, and not downtown Noblesville. The Gallery is beautiful, but we can’t afford to advertise to let people know where we are,” said Johnson. “With the economy the way it is, it has been a bad two years. But this last November at our(Hamilton East Public) Library show, we sold a lot of paintings, so it’s given me hope again,” said Johnson.

The HCAA holds new exhibits every two months, in addition to several art classes, out-of-gallery exhibits and scholarship contests throughout the year. For more information, please visit www.hcaa-in.org.

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