Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Local News

April 19, 2013

Out of storage, on display

New gallery provides space for Peru schools’ collection

PERU — When the Peru Community Schools Art Gallery has its grand opening Sunday, visitors will have the opportunity to experience a collection of art made up of more than 150 pieces that has been 75 years in the making.

The collection includes a lithograph by Georges Braque, a French artist who developed the style of Cubism along with Pablo Picasso. Also on display will be a piece by the famous American impressionist William Merritt Chase. Pottery from China, Korea and Japan dating from 215 BC to the 19th century will be featured as well.

How did this trove of art end up at a small-town public high school? As the gallery’s curator Connie Cutler will tell you, it’s quite a story.

It all started in 1938, when Peru High School graduate G. David Thompson moved to pursue a career in the steel industry in Pittsburgh, where he ultimately found success owning four steel companies.

“Along the way, he was always a collector of art,” Cutler said. “He always had ties to Peru and always thought Peru turned him around and put him in the right direction.”

In the late 1940s, Thompson began donating paintings to the school, which were hung on display on the walls of the building. Other artists and art patrons started donating as well. When the current high school was built in 1971, space to serve as a gallery for the paintings was included, but only had enough room to display a few at a time.

By the 1970s, the school had collected more than 150 works, Cutler said, 75 to 80 of them coming from Thompson.

It wasn’t just paintings Thompson sent the school. At one point, he was moved to donate art of a different medium after corresponding with a Peru High School teacher who told him his students were working on ceramics.

“Lo and behold, a few months later, a big crate showed up on the doorstep filled with over 50 pieces of Asian pottery,” Cutler said. “At that time, when China’s doors were closed, it was quite a collection.”

When the Asian pottery specialist at the Indiana Museum of Art at the time visited to observe the collection, Cutler said he was so impressed he asked if the works could be displayed at the museum, where they remained for most of the 1970s.

The years went by and most of the pieces were only being pulled out of storage by teachers every once in a while to show students examples of different techniques.

Last year, the Peru Community School Board decided it was time to take the art out of storage by appropriating a $250,000 bond issue to a develop a space to showcase the works, complete with walls and lighting to aid in the presentation of the paintings, high ceilings, wooden floors and a heating, cooling and humidity system to aid in the paintings’ preservation.

“They appropriated money, in this day and age of cutting of the arts, so now we have a beautiful permanent gallery,” Cutler said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to display works of art that have been hidden in storage for years and years and years.”

Charles Brimbury, superintendent of Peru Community Schools, said preserving the arts in schools is something very important to him.

“I said three years ago when I became superintendent that Peru Community Schools will excel academically,” he said. “Our culture will be a kid-first culture. We will protect and enhance fine arts that maybe other school districts have made economic decisions on.

“Schools must be about critical areas kids need. I’m so proud kids can commit to fine arts and appreciate our wonderful program. It’s a beautiful art gallery with an unbelievable collection that now can be appreciated by all.”

The gallery’s grand opening will be 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at its location in Peru High School, 401 N. Broadway, Peru. Admission is free. A spring concert featuring high school bands in the area will be 2 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, just down the hall from the gallery.

After the grand opening, Cutler said the gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month. She asks that visitors contact her at 765-475-2421 or ccutler@peru.k12.in.us before arriving so she can let the reception desk at the high school know to expect them.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police blotter: April 23, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall mortgage up for auction The mortgage note for the Logansport Mall is scheduled to be sold at auction early next month. Foreclosure procedures for the mall began when lawyers for Algonquin State Bank, N.A., out of Algonquin, Ill., filed a complaint against the mall's owner -

    April 23, 2014

  • NWS-PT042314 Earth Day4.jpg Being kind to their mother: Lewis Cass students plant trees on Earth Day WALTON -- Weeks of planning came together Tuesday as students planted 22 trees on the grounds of Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School in observance of Earth Day. Amy Densborn, a science teacher at Lewis Cass, wanted to plant the trees so that students in s

    April 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • NWS-PT042314 Bags.jpg Students collect 2,475 pounds of plastic bags The Cass County Solid Waste Management District now knows to be careful what you ask for. The district opted to again this year host its plastic shopping bag contest for area elementary schools in observance of Earth Day. Overall, the district recei

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate sues for religious services at Miami County prison BUNKER HILL – A Native American inmate is suing the Miami Correctional Facility for violating his constitutional religious freedom after the prison last year terminated Native American worship services. Daniel Littlepage says in a class action lawsui

    April 22, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 22, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 22, 2014

  • NWS-PT042214 Indiana Beach Viper.jpg Monticello amusement park brings new thrills MONTICELLO -- Indiana Beach's first major steel roller coaster -- the Galaxi -- is being retired after 42 years. Don Hurd operated the ride as a park employee 35 years ago. "At that time, it was one of the biggest coasters around," he said. "It's one

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Southeastern school board reopens its search for a principal at Lewis Cass WALTON -- Southeastern School Corp. officials thought they had found their new principal for Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School. The position was offered to a candidate, but he declined to accept it, Superintendent Trudie Hedrick reported to the school b

    April 22, 2014

  • No Headline Provided Guests will be able to climb into a carved-out pumpkin that will circle above Indiana Beach in one of the park's latest rides -- the Pumpkin Ferris Wheel.

    April 22, 2014

  • shelly maness Woman arrested in meth lab find MACY — A narcotics investigation led to the recent arrest of a Fulton County woman on several drug charges. Shelly Maness, 35, Macy, was arrested on two felony counts of dealing in methamphetamine, possession of meth, possession of an illegal drug la

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
eEdition