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 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


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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police blotter: April 18, 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 18, 2014

  • UPDATED: Logansport HS teacher arrested on child seduction charge

    A Logansport High School teacher was arrested Thursday on a charge of child seduction.

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041814 LC50 cords.jpg 50 years later WALTON -- Dean "D.A." Zehring graduated from the current Lewis Cass High School, but he never attended classes there. It's one of the unique characteristics of the graduating class of 1968, the first class to complete all four years of high school un

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Caston considers Logan bus stop FULTON -- Caston Schools administrators are considering establishing a bus stop a few miles outside its boundaries on the north side of Logansport. The school board recently discussed the feasibility of adding a bus stop for students transferring fro

    April 18, 2014

  • mushroom Parks let mushroom hunters forage off-trail INDIANAPOLIS - Rain that pounded Brown County State Park in early April dampened the number of hikers and mountain bikers in Indiana's largest state park, but foragers of the property's 15,000 acres of forest welcomed the weather. With the arrival o

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police blotter: April 17, 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 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 G.jpg Sign of support: Class meant to connect hearing-impaired family members Jordanna Dishner-Rush gestured forcefully to a coat rack hanging in the back of the meeting room at the Logansport Library. She was trying to use just hand motions — no speech — to get the other women to guess the secret word she'd been given. Dishne

    April 17, 2014 12 Photos

  • Logansport graduation rate rises again Logansport High School's graduation rate jumped almost 2 percentage points to 92.9 percent in 2013, data released Wednesday show. The Indiana Department of Education released graduation data for the 2012-2013 school year Wednesday. The data show that

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 Mustangs.jpg Local dealer celebrates the Mustang Fifty years ago today, the Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair. Now, six of them will be on display for the next few weeks at Rick's Auto Sales in Logansport celebrating what the business owner says is a half centur

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redevelopment commission proposes new TIF expansion The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is now considering including land surrounding Water Street in a proposed consolidation of the city's tax increment financing districts. A tax increment financing, or TIF, district, captures the increments of an

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

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.

Should e-cigarette marketing be regulated like tobacco?

     View Results