They said it was risky to plan a trip to a sculpture park in January, so we built a few extras into the excursion to mitigate adversity. We were eight brave souls willing to make the trek on behalf of our docent corps from Laumeier Sculpture Park in a rented utility van from Enterprise Rent-a-Car on January 17-18.
In the process of planning the weekend we bundled into it a visit to Columbus, Indiana which has a rich history of architectural design innovation and excellence fostered by industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller. A tour of the house he and his wife Xenia Simons Miller commissioned in 1953 with the architect behind our iconic arch, Eero Saarinen seemed like a good idea. Indeed it was. The midcentury house and garden was stunning and we enjoyed VIP treatment as the visits to the property are limited to 13 or fewer people at a time.
The Columbus, Indiana Visitors Bureau suggested we stay at the Indigo Hotel and so we did. That decision permitted us to soak in the culture of a community inspired by quality art and design. Miller was a driver behind a foundation that gave the community an incentive to select from a list of architects with much success in executing some remarkable spaces. Around every corner in that small town there was another surprise of sculpture, landscaping and artwork. As a group we were satisfied that the effort to get up early on a Saturday morning and to drive four and one half hours to Columbus was well worth it. It was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the 50s.
On Sunday it was a bit cooler and the morning brought a little precipitation. Although we were almost reluctant to leave the town we had to get to Indianapolis – an hour away by car. Located on 100 acres adjacent to the Indiana Museum of Art main campus, The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park consists of woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and a 35-acre lake. 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and one of only a few to feature ongoing commissions of temporary, site-responsive artworks. Naturally the docent corps from Laumeier Sculpture Park wanted to get a look up close and personal.
Docent Karen Bower was willing to step up in the off-season to lead us on a tour of the park – and before the museum even officially opened. In spite of patches of ice on the trials around the lake and some muddy places we navigated the grounds with pleasure. Karen’s guidance for nearly ninety minutes was a first-rate inspiration to all of us.
The visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art was a bonus if not only for the terrific works on view from the permanent collection but also for the special exposition of Georgia O’Keeffe which was FREE as a gesture to in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Hank & Ann Bauer, Mary & Mike Drury, Shelia Hoffmeister, Clara Coleman, June Shaw (Photo by Wes Morgan - not in picture)
...and a group shot by Hank with me in it...(back)