Art Colony Centennial
Brown County, “The Art Colony of the Midwest,” is celebrating it’s centennial “100 Years of Arts and Artists” honoring T.C. Steele, the founding father of the Brown County Art Colony and the artists of today.
Theodore Clement Steele was Indiana’s premier portraitist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a member of the noted “Hoosier Group” of American Impressionist painters and painted many of Indiana’s “rich and famous,” the industrialists, philanthropists, educators, and political figures.
Early in 1907 Steele purchased 221 acres and established a home for his new wife, Selma Neubacher Steele. The home came to be known as the “House of the Singing Winds” and over the years the site expanded with the addition of two studios, several buildings, a garage and guest cottages. Beautiful gardens were created throughout the property that Selma tended to on a daily basis. The scenic beauty of the grounds inspired Steele to paint some of his most famous landscapes. The property was left to the state when Selma died and was designated as a historic site. The site is open to the public and offers tours of his home and studio in addition to hosting major annual outdoor painting events.
Steele’s presence in the county drew many other well-known artists from major cities, such as Chicago, to the area. The railroad transportation to Helmsburg made it possible for artists to travel to Brown County to visit and paint. Many of the artists relocated and settled in Brown County, calling it “Peaceful Valley” and creating the famous Brown County Art Colony.
Today, there are over 200 artists who reside in the county, working in their shops, studios, and homes as did the early artists. Local art galleries and shops in the Village of Nashville feature the work of local artists, crafters, and other Indiana artists.
Brown County is celebrating the centennial throughout the year with monthly events, festivals, outdoor artist demonstrations, workshops and classes, plays, live street entertainment, and various activities at T.C. Steele State Historic Site. The official kick-off celebration is scheduled for March 29 with day long activities and events culminating with a reception at T.C. Steele Historic Site in Belmont, west of Nashville.
The Brown County Visitors Center will be displaying a variety of work from local artists and craftsmen throughout the year and will provide information about artist’s studios open to the public and area shops, studios and galleries who feature local artists. For more information, contact the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 753-3255 or visit <www.artcolonyofthemidwest.com>.