by Bill Weaver
photo by Cindy Steele
Visitors enjoy returning to Brown County. It has something to do with the romance of the place, the people that have called it their home. People like artists Carl Graf and Genevieve Goth Graf; V.J. Cariani and Marie Goth.
“What amazes me about Marie Goth,” says Scott Hutchinson,“is, when you look at all the decades that she painted, she continued to improve. She went from good to great. You have to admire that.”
Hutchinson was a third-grader living in Plainfield, Indiana when, one spring afternoon, his mother brought him to Brown County. “I fell in love with the place,” he remembers. He returned often, eventually attending nearby Indiana University and settling into a job with the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department.
Hutchinson worked with, “about 40 different not-for-profit organizations a year for 10 years—400 chances to get it right,” he smiles. “I helped organizations when they were just getting started or when they had jumped off the track and needed some help with strategic planning, fund raising, grant writing, or board development.”
He brings this experience to the Brown County Art Guild where, last August, he accepted the position of executive director. “Getting out in the community, forming partnerships, pursuing grant funding, creating a community of donors and interested volunteers—that’s the kind of stuff I can help with,” he says.
The Guild—a branch of the original 1926 association of Brown County artists—is custodian of the Marie Goth Estate Collection located in the historic Minor House on Van Buren Street. “When she passed in 1974 she gave us more than 2000 paintings that she and others had done. It’s a rich tradition not shared by many communities throughout the country.”
The paintings are rotated regularly by gallery manager Roberta Chirko so that there is always something new on display. “I would like to see a Marie Goth t-shirt,” Scott laughs. “One of the things we want to make sure of is that everyone who comes for this experience can go back with something in hand to remember us by.”
The Guild has 43 working member artists and 6 artisans, exhibiting three times a year in February, June, and August. Each month, coinciding with the Second Saturday Village Art Walk, Guild artists display in the upper loft gallery. There is also a yearly Patron and Senior Show and April 11 (Slow Art Day) will feature a Plein Air Picnic.
“Certain places in America have a rich historic tradition of art and creativity. Brown County had one of the first art colonies in the country,” Scott says, adding that that tradition fosters a “culture shed”—community space for displaying, teaching, and enjoying the arts, one that includes outreach and education.
“In a place like Brown County, when a young person shows some talent for art we need to feed that fire,” he says. “We have our Annual Youth Show in March and April and we’re going to collaborate with the Waycross Center to have Youth Camp June 28 through July 4. We’re trying to get established artists in contact with coming young artists. If we can make a difference in a young person’s career, then that is what we’re interested in—teaching kids to be producers as well as consumers.”
Another way to promote culture shed in Nashville will be to convert the Guild’s parking lot behind the building into a pocket park, “with seating and shade, raised gardens, and a water feature,” he says. “We want families to have experiences that last a lifetime.”
Of his new job Scott says, “It’s in a beautiful space and I’m surrounded by beautiful paintings. I enjoy working in an organization and community that has respect for its past, that is also working to make new things happen for the next generation.
“I am the luckiest man in the world.”
The Brown County Art Guild is located at 48 South Van Buren Street in Nashville, (812) 988-6185. Visit