Residents present ideas at meeting for local art projects

A public meeting Monday generated ideas about a favorite Jennings County person, place or thing that residents would like to see memorialized in a $10,000 art project.

The good news for anyone who missed the meeting is that there’s still time to submit ideas.

About a dozen residents attended the exploratory discussion meeting at the Stellar Building in North Vernon to try and find an agreeable topic for one of the two grant-funded art projects totaling $20,000 that will be created for Jennings County.

The National Endowment for the Arts, Arts for Learning and Jennings County High School are leading the effort to install one permanent art project at the high school and one permanent art project somewhere in the North Vernon.

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Arts for Learning storyteller Bob Sander led the discussion in an effort to demonstrate ways to decide on the projects. Earlier in the day, Sander also led a discussion at the high school.

Designed to awaken memories of events places and people in Jennings County, Sander told a story of his childhood memories of a favorite aunt he frequently visited in an old building in Indianapolis.

“As you listen, think, think of your own stories of the people, places and events in your own community,” instructed Sander.

The approach worked with lifelong Jennings County resident Mike Underwood, who said he came to the meeting with a completely different idea.

After listening to Sander speak and seeing the large photograph of the Crosley Bridge on the wall at the Stellar Building, Underwood decided on a different subject.

Underwood pointed at the photograph and said, “The Cartwright boys and I played all through what is now known as the Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area. I remember what it was like when the Crosley family had it. I remember the old lodge before the state burned it down. The place is still a part of our lives now, but it would also be nice to remember what it was like then.”

Abby Rollett had her own ideas for the Park Theatre Civic Centre building as a subject or site of an art project.

“I remember what the building meant to me as a child when I was there to see movies and plays. I know what the building means to me now as I have grown. I have been in plays there and I have seen it from that perspective, which is very different but it is always special to me and I think it is special to this whole community,” Rollett said.

Other ideas suggested for North Vernon’s art project were Skyline Bill, Couchman Furriers, Pat O’Connor, Wilbur Shaw, Old Timbers, Tunnel Mill, Vinegar Mill, stories of the Crosley Monster in a cave and enhancements for the new Tripton Park.

Sander asked the meeting’s attendees to go home, put their ideas in written form and send them to Karen Chilman, the fine arts chairperson at Jennings County High School. From there, the ideas will be selected by a committee and forwarded to an artist selected to make a visual artifact in a selected medium.

“It’s simple. Just say what is special to you, write it down and email it to me,” said Chilman, who initiated the request for the art grant.

How to share an idea

Anyone who has an idea for the projects, or wants more information, should contact Karen Chilman at 812-528-1313 (text preferred), or