A new art gallery showcasing local talent will host its opening reception Friday at the Columbus Area Visitors Center downtown.

It becomes the first new gallery outlet since David Kadlec opened Jacksson Place Contemporary Art gallery at 1030 Jackson Place in May 2012 and the WellConnect medical office began displaying exhibits toward the end of 2013. Jacksson Place closed in June 2014.

Robert Burris is among six Columbus artists featured in “Art Alert: A Showcase of Fine Artists,” displayed in a first-floor room used sparingly for the seven-minute Columbus promotional video shown before visitors take one of the architectural tours. But since the short film is shown only a few times per day, the space goes largely unused other times, according the center’s staff.

“This is tremendous,” Burris said. “This is an ideal location.”

Story continues below gallery

Jan Banister, the visitors center’s retail manager who curated the gallery at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus for 21 years, birthed the idea of the dual-purpose room already outfitted with tract lighting and art hangers.

“It’s got great light, and I just think it’s a great space — and I just thought it would give us yet another opportunity to tell the story of Columbus in art and design,” Banister said.

The current show will run through June 30. Displayed artists are:

  • Burris, a charter and signature member of the Bloomington Watercolor Society. He has earned awards at T. C Steele painting events.
  • Susie Gregory, whose works have graced the walls of the Indiana State Museum and the Governor’s mansion as well as being displayed in 27 states, Canada, Costa Rica and Australia.
  • Mary Gretsinger, who has earned consecutive Best of Show awards at The Hoosier Salon in 2013 and 2014.
  • Chris Newlund, who paints regularly with The Indiana Plein Air Painters Association and is a member of The Hoosier Salon, Indiana Heritage Arts and the American Impressionist Society, among other art organizations.
  • David Williams, whose work includes watercolor and illustration, as well as published books on drawing. He is an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus and holds painting classes in his studio.
  • YiAnna Young, a young student artist displaying drawings, water color and acrylic paintings.

Many of the works in this initial show highlight local scenes, from the Inn at Irwin Gardens to the Bartholomew County Courthouse. Banister mentioned that such elements help catch the attention of both visitors and residents.

“The message of this show is that this is the remarkable level of talent we have in our own community,” Banister said. 

Art Alert preview

What: The first show, “Art Alert: A Showcase of Fine Artists,” at the new space in the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

Where: First floor of the building, 506 Fifth St., Columbus.

Opening reception: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Other hours: Center hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays in between showings of the seven-minute Columbus architectural video. Visitors can browse in the gift shop while waiting.

Cost: Free.

Information: Jan Banister, 812-378-2622.

Photo exhibit downtown

Columbus Area Visitors Center is also promoting Columbus Musuem of Art and Design’s latest exhibit with its opening reception Friday.

Who: North Vernon photographer Danielle Jeffries, known for her portrait photography, in her display, “Aplomb.” She will graduate in May with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis.

Where: WellConnect, 237 Washington St. in downtown Columbus

When: Opening reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. Exhibit runs through June 30.

Admission: Free

Information: cmadart.org.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.