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May 28, 2008

Joel Patterson ' 09 - Following a Memorial Day weekend, I headed off to visit the South Bend Regional Museum of Art (SBRMA) and the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame. These museums, located about five minutes apart, complement each other quite well. 

My day began at the South Bend Regional Museum of Art.  The SBRMA is housed inside the Century Center located on the St. Joseph River. During this visit I interviewed the Curator of Collections Kim Hoffmann and viewed their permanent collect. The South Bend Regional Museum of Art is best known for their historical Indiana art, including artworks from Brown County artists, Midwest regional artists, and American artists with a connection to Indiana. Ms. Hoffmann “Considers the collection to belong to the community” because of the number of gifted artworks to the collection from the community.

 One significant piece of art in the collection is Daniel Garber’s The Lumberville Bridge. Daniel Garber was born in North Mancester, Indiana and is nationally known for his Pennsylvania landscape paintings.  He also has artworks featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Another piece of interest is Mark di Suvero’s Keepers of the Fire. This abstract sculpture standing in the St. Joseph River can be viewed out of the dynamic windows within the gallery or anywhere along the stretch of river outside of the Century Center. 

My day of South Bend art museums ended on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, just behind the football stadium, at the Snite Museum of Art. Here I met with Director Charles Loving. Mr. Loving explained that their museum initially tried to offer the same ‘all-encompassing’ art experience that the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Cleveland Museum of Art offer to the community. However, after he became director, their focus changed to concentrate on areas in art history that their collection excels in.  Some areas of excellence include their Pre-Columbian collection, which is said to be the best in the county; 19th century European photograph collection; Old Master Drawings and Paintings; and George Rickey and Ivan Meštrović sculpture collection. This wide variety of art is a great complement to the regional historic art of the SBRMA. 

 

Culver is An Indiana Hidden Treasure

Cody Stipes ' 11 - In Northern Indiana, deep inside of Marshall County, lies the small town of Culver, IN. With a population of less than 2,000 people, one might assume that Culver has little to offer its residents or to the state of Indiana. However, Culver may have one of the greatest unknown gems of the state. Located within this small town, on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, you will find the Culver Academies. Comprised of the Culver Military Academy and the Culver Girls Academy, the Culver Academies are the home to more than 700 students from across the state, the country, and the world. With more than 42 states and 26 countries represented, the Culver Academies provide one of the greatest educations in the country.

With a focus on whole body learning, the Culver Academies educate students for tomorrow. The Culver Academies prepare students for college and their lives after school. As John Buxton, Head of Schools, says, “Culver provides arguably the best whole person education school in the country and is one of the only schools nationwide to offer an intentional and differentiated leadership program for its young women and young men.”

With a long and storied tradition the Culver Academies has become a leader in education. The Culver Military Academy was founded in 1894 by Henry Harrison Culver who believed in transforming young boys into men fit for the citizenship of tomorrow. Seventy-seven years later, in 1971, the Culver Girls Academy was founded for the purpose of “encouraging women to attain the highest degree of self-development. I believe Kathy Lintner, Dean of Faculty, said it best when she said, “To be honest, it is the most unique school I know of in America.”

From the moment I stepped out of my car I could tell that Culver was a special place. With an absolutely gorgeous campus, immaculate facilities, and a world-class staff and faculty, it is no surprise that Culver is known throughout the world for its education. Culver continues to grow with the help and support of its generous Alumni, which includes George Steinbrenner, Champ Car driver Mario Dominquez, and Alberto Bailleres.

May 23, 2008

Visiting Lawrence County - Home to Astronauts

John McGaughey '11 - Although the trip to Lawrence County Thursday seemed like old hat at the time for me, being a resident of Bedford, I quickly learned that there was nothing routine about my visit down south.

Mitchell, IN, a small town that could almost be forgotten if not for its local hero, the astronaut Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom, revealed to me a treasure chest of material for Present Indiana.

From Grissom's boyhood home undergoing restoration on the street that now bears his name, to the limestone memorial resembling the Gemini 3 capsule's Titan rocket booster, to a portrait of Grissom adorning a wall inside the Mitchell Public Library, Mitchell is a town that exudes the essence of Grissom and his dream to conquer space.

In addition to these landmarks, Alex Moseman and I visited the Gus Grissom Memorial located in Spring Mill State Park, just a few miles east of Mitchell. Here you can see the famous Gemini 3 capsule, the first two man spacecraft (piloted by Grissom and his good friend John W. Young) and also the first spacecraft to change its orbit in outer space. Also, the spacesuit Grissom wore for the Gemini program was on display, as well as many other items. 

Photographing the Gemini 3 capsule, nicknamed by Grissom, "Molly Brown," Alex and I were stunned to be within such close range of such an historical artifact. Touching the cold steel of Molly Brown that once brushed the vast reaches of space, I was instilled with a deep sense of pride that a man from my own Lawrence County became an American hero and a pioneer of the final frontier, paving the way for other great astronauts to conquer space.

And I certainly can't forget to mention the other two astronauts from my county, Ken Bowersox and Charles Walker, who are heroes to the people of this county and an inspiration for all of us Southerin Hoosiers with grand aspirations. 

Bowersox was the first American to be brought home from space on a Russian vehicle, and Walker was the first recognized payload specialist astronaut; both these men are proud to be from Lawrence County and to follow in the footsteps of Grissom, their hero.

May 22, 2008

Hall of Fame A Special Indiana Attraction

George Padgitt '09 - The Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame, which happens to be the only hall of fame in the country specifically and entirely dedicated to high school basketball, is full of amazing artifacts and even better people. 

During Greg Slisz and my time at the Hall, we did not encounter a single person that was not eager to help us in any way possible. The experience began with the museum's curator, Roger Dickinson, showing us everything there was to see including the artifacts in the back rooms that regular patrons probably don't even know about. We were even able to experience some of the fun things that can be done at the Hall of Fame. We were each able to hit the winning shot in the state championship game and see if we could block Oscar Robertson’s jump shot. 

Then Mr. Dickinson told us a number of really interesting anecdotes about Indiana high school basketball history. For example, he told us that there used to be a rule in Indiana that coaches could not get up from their chairs and showed us an old chair with a seat belt on it to keep the coach sitting. Mr. Dickinson’s wealth of knowledge and the incredible things he was able to show us made our trip to the hall a really cool experience.

However, it was not all just about fun. We were also able to use the Hall's library, which provided a plethora of images and documents to help us with our research. There was a folder full of information about every school in the state, every state tournament, and every player that had been inducted into the Hall of Fame. And when we were about to leave we met a very interesting man who was able to provide us with a great deal more interesting information about Indiana high school basketball. All in all, our trip to the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame was a big success. It was helpful to our research and a lot of fun.

May 21, 2008

Indiana Basketball Hall Treasure of Memories

Greg Slisz '10 - Bright and early Tuesday morning, my trusty photographer Alex Moseman and I headed off to New Castle, IN, to visit the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. On our way there, we picked up George Padgitt in Fishers and continued on until we finally arrived in the booming metropolis of New Castle, IN. 

Upon arriving at the Hoops Hall, we were cordially greeted by the museum’s curator, Mr. Roger Dickinson, who showed us around the museum and even allowed us access to the back rooms that contain memorabilia that are not in exhibits and are closed to the public. In these back rooms, we found treasures such as an Oscar Robertson Milwaukee Bucks jersey as well as a pair of Lawrence North star Eric Montross’s shorts (which looked like they would have barely fit the 7-footer). 

Mr. Dickinson also showed me a display case that featured the Crispus Attucks high school teams of the 1950s, especially the State Championship-winning teams from 1955 and 1956. The display contained photos, a short video, newspaper clippings, and even bronzed shoes from the players on the 1955 team. We also viewed an extensive display on Oscar Robertson, a 1956 Crispus Attucks graduate and undoubtedly the greatest high school basketball player in Indiana history. 

The display included memorabilia from Robertson’s career, as well as a bronze statue of the famous cager, who averaged a triple-double over his first five seasons in the NBA. After viewing these exhibits, Mr. Dickinson led us upstairs to the Hall’s library, which is filled with newspaper clippings and articles on every team and state tournament in the history of Indiana high school basketball. 

I found a great deal of interesting information and old newspaper clippings on the Attucks teams from 1955 and 1956. Later on in the afternoon, I also got an opportunity to interview Mr. Dickinson, who played high school ball at Frankfort in the mid-fifties and fondly recalled Attucks’s great championship runs. 

The Hall of Fame provided a great day full of research, learning, and fun, especially for an avid basketball fan such as myself. Whether enjoying the Hall’s interactive John Wooden exhibit, sinking the “game-winning” shot in the shooting exhibit, or even searching for photos of Wabash alumni such as Josh Estelle or Antoine Carpenter, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame provided a fun and informative experience for all three of us.

Photos by PIP Intern Alex Moseman '11

May 20, 2008

Visiting the Roots of Indiana Jazz Recordings

Kyle Frederick '10 - The sun was shining and the birds were chirping as I ventured toward Richmond, Indiana on Friday morning. I set out bright and early so that I could make it to an early meeting at the Starr Gennett Foundation; the last remaining organization that seeks to ensure the preservation of the ruins of the Starr Piano-Gennett Records building. Not only is the foundation’s mission to preserve the physical location, but they also strive to educate and excite Hoosier about the plentiful history associated with the company; one of the most prominent recording studios, not only in Indiana but in the entire nation.

I arrived somewhat early so that I would have a chance to explore the city to familiarize myself with the city. Just by walking down East Main Street I could see the exquisite history captured on the edifices on the buildings. After my wanderings throughout the city I met with Mrs. Hardy to discuss the historical beginnings of the Starr Piano factory and Gennett Records. Throughout the interview we discussed some of the famed musicians that recorded in that very location including – Hoagy Carmichael, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and countless others.

After conversing about the remnants of the actual buildings, Mrs. Hardy decided to lead me down to the section of town known as “the Gorge.” After a few minor complications I managed to find my way to the location of historic Gennett Records. Here I was confronted with an astounding sight to be sure. Mrs. Hardy arranged a meeting with a member from the board of trustees to answer some of the questions that she did not know. He was more than helpful in explaining the early beginnings of the factory. I was provided with a wealth of information from both parties and not have the joyous obligation to sift through it all and decide what information is significant and what is not.

Although the buildings do not seem like much, the history behind them speaks for itself. Here at this very location, Jazz was born. There was an aura of creativity surrounding this place; a place where in the 1920’s people of all different hues were able to create captivating works of art, seen nowhere else in the nation. It was truly an honor and privilege to be able to experience this place first-hand.

May 16, 2008

Suprising Friendliness, Sharing in Indianapolis

Alex Avtgis '11 - There are few feelings which can match that of rediscovering the fact that people are actually eager to help other people. As such was PIP’s Thursday journey to West Washington Street, minutes away from Downtown Indianapolis.

Nevertheless, the overly frequented adage “work before play” (or in this case, relief) still found applicability, as we headed over to the Indianapolis Historical Society first thing in the morning. The Society is and was a great location to do some heavy research into the state’s evolving history – don’t get me wrong – but the work just seemed like a chore at the time: all of us were impatiently anticipating the lunch looming over us.

After two hours of honest grueling work, from which most of us found at least some interesting leads for our projects, we got the prize at hand: a lunch at Sol de Tala, some of Indianapolis’ finest Latino and Mexican cuisine.

Understand that, as soon as we walked in, we were greeted with some guaranteed signs of authenticity: the Virgin Mary hung in full Madonna pose above the archway from where we entered the room, in addition to the subtle sounds of not Spanglish but, in fact, Spanish being spoken. Being recently remodeled to add more atmospheric grandeur, the Sol de Tala challenged our beliefs continuously in these ways, of which some of us were not expecting.

The menu offered a diverse mezcla of items not solely consisting of refried beans and over-cooked refried rice. That alone was enough, let alone the fact that the avocado had made friends with onions, lime and tomato chunks in a harmonious blend that was voted Indiana’s Best Guacamole Recipe for the last 20 years.

But the meal was not lo mejor de la dia, or the highlight of the day – at least in my opinion. Some of us reluctantly (yet diligently) left for the scholarly domain that is the library of IUPUI, while the rest of us graciously rushed out to the fresh air that was found in roaming the Latino corridor of West Washington.

I shall inject my personal philosophy before I disclose anymore: experiential knowledge, as found in experiences, always seems to best theoretical knowledge, as found in text-book interpretations.

With that, you can understand why I elected to go and discuss Hispanic contributions with the people that were actually doing the contributing.

But that still had an intimidating factor which loomed evanescent.

As we left the college van towards the office building of La Voz, one of Indiana's premier bilingual news sources, some of us genuinely felt unpleasant. And not just in that out –of-place, awkward sort of way.

But, as we would soon discover, that uneasiness was wholly unnecessary: the owner sought us out to talk to, even before ever parking his vehicle.

And that is what I want to share in this article: that people are always surprising. I did not know such friendly and accommodating people existed. Right from the beginning, the owner shared with us story after story, working to explain how common misconceptions frequently deestablish the numerous, recurrent and concrete benefits that the rising Hispanic and Latino culture offer the state.

More information on such a topic is to come.

And with that, my advisors ask you, my colleagues of Present Indiana ask you, and I ask that you keep tuned for more information regarding our summer research projects.

Photos by Present Indiana Intern Alex Moseman '11

In photos: Top right, Avtgis talks with Jose Gonzalez, vice president of La Voz De Indiana. Center left, Sean Huston '10, who is researching Indiana's first state capital Corydon, works at the State Historical Society. Lower right, the group enjoys lunch.

May 13, 2008

Trails Illustrate How We Can Interact

Seth Einterz '11 - After some many days of dreary orientation and preliminary research, I hit the road in search of fame, love, wealth, and the great Rail-Trail gurus. While I still seek the first three, I found the gurus.

Richard Stroup is the executive director (a technical term for wise guru) of Friends of Boone County Trails, a community organization that has been a strong supporter of the incoming Farm Heritage Trail. Still stuttering out of its planning, the Farm Heritage Trail will eventually span the distance from Lebanon to Lafayette, and act as a corridor of agro-tourism.

Demonstration farms, restaurants, and other amenities along the trail will be a conduit from urban Indianapolis to the rural soul of Indiana. Mr. Stroup discussed the coexisting challenges and opportunities that one encounters when building trails. As he explained the process: “We know there’s another roadblock somewhere; we’re just driving a hundred miles per hour to get to the next one.”

Ron Carter is the executive director of the Greenways Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates the construction of trails throughout the state of Indiana. I met with Mr. Carter in the Carmel Town Hall, just outside the busy Monon Trail. Mr. Carter gave me a wonderful interview that covered a large breadth of subjects. Especially, Mr. Carter used his home Carmel as an example of the economic benefits of trails in Indiana: “Our railroads carried commerce. We took them out of service and they became linear junk yards. Now that they are back in service, they carry commerce again.”

If I have learned anything about the value of trails in these first couple of days, I have learned that the effort to build trails creates an even larger opportunity to come together as a Hoosier community. Just as these two men set aside an hour of their day to speak with me, so these trails offer Indiana a conduit not only of transportation, but of social networking and relationships. In presenting the community of Indiana, there’s nothing better to showcase than how we interact with each other.

Shooting Photographs Great Way to Spend Summer

Alex Moseman '11 - Saturday was my first day shooting for Present Indiana. I decided that I would start with my hometown of Bloomington, and take advantage of my knowledge of the area. I was a little nervous at first, as if it were the first game of the season. But as soon as I started those nerves were gone. I was glad that I caught a break as the rain stopped and the sun come out for long enough to take pictures.

The first place I visited was Kirkwood Street, arguably the cultural center of Bloomington and home of Nick’s English Hut, which has been featured in ESPN’s top college bars in the country. As I made my way down the street I was able to get some good shots of people “out and about” on their Saturday Mornings. After shooting on Kirkwood for a while I headed over to the farmers’ market, which is usually buzzing with local vendors on a Saturday morning.  There were several bands playing there and I was able to get some shoots of the crowds of people interacting with the performers.

The performers there were two brothers, one played the guitar and the other added percussion complete with his suitcase drum. While I was walking around the market taking in the sounds and sounds I stopped for a moment and thought to myself, “Wow I can’t believe that I’m getting paid to do this.” 

After spending some time at the Market I went across town to the Buddhist Monastery. While I was disappointed that the Monks were out of town and I would not be able to go into the monastery, it was a great place to stop and take some pictures of the outside of the structure. I am continually surprised when I look at the pictures of the monastery and think, “ this can’t be in south central Indiana.”  After lunch I was off to Oliver Winery, the biggest, and oldest winery in the state. All in all it was a pretty good day in the field but I can’t wait till the next day that I go out to shoot.

May 07, 2008

Present Indiana Begins 4th Year

Howard W. Hewitt - One of the College's most unique summer internship programs is beginning its fourth year. Present Indiana will have 13 students researching and crafting presentations on a wide variety of Indiana topics.

The program got underway May 5 and runs through the end of June. Director of Off-Campus Studies and International Students David Clapp, Reference Librarian Jeff Beck, and I provide leadership to run the student program.

One of the most rewarding things about participating with PIP, as we call it, has been the program's growth. Each year we seem to get better projects, presentations, and learn more about how to make this a really rewarding program for the students involved.

The projects are even more challenging this year. Click here to meet the 13 students and learn their summer research topics.

This blog will be updated frequently as the guys make trips around the state and learn more about Indiana.