News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 8, 2013

New mural in downtown Terre Haute to have Year of the River theme

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Downtown Terre Haute will soon get a new, outdoor mural with a 2013 Year of the River theme.

The mural site will be the west wall of the Cox, Zwerner, Gambill and Sullivan Law Firm at 511 Wabash Ave.

It is an initiative of Indiana State University’s Department of Art, through its ongoing Gilbert Wilson Memorial Mural Project. It will be funded by ISU’s “Energize Downtown.”

The new mural “will bring about a lot of press and eyes,” said Brad Venable, ISU associate professor of art. “People get excited about seeing a work of art go up of that scale downtown.”

Also important, “It’s an engaging activity for our students to work with professional artists,” he said.

The mural will be created by artists Michael Neary and Amy MacLennan, with help from ISU art students. It is scheduled for painting in early May, and the goal is to complete it by the end of that month.

Venable doesn’t know what will appear on the mural; while it will have a Year of the River theme, that doesn’t necessarily mean the mural will include a picture of the river on it. The artists will do a preliminary drawing sometime this month, he said.

The project cost is estimated at about $15,000.

Venable said he normally does these projects every few years, but the funds became available and the mural “was further inspired the Year of the River initiative.”

Guille Cox, one of the law firm’s attorneys, said he and the other attorneys “are very excited about it.”

As the Wabash Valley gears up for Year of the River celebrations, “I think all of those activities are wonderful and we’re happy to be part of it,” Cox said.

He also knows the artists and “I’m pleased that Amy and Michael were selected.”

Neary and MacLennan currently work in Illinois. Neary earned his master of fine arts degree from Indiana University in painting and drawing in 1982. His artwork has consisted primarily of still life and landscape painted from direct observation. These works have been exhibited at group exhibitions in museums and galleries in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Neary also worked as a billboard painter, an occupation that brought him back to Terre Haute in the early 1990s. He enjoyed the spirit and support of the arts community for more than 15 years.

He was honored with a “Bravo! The Arts!” award in 2007.

MacLennan grew up in the Terre Haute region and earned her master of fine arts degree in painting from Indiana State University in 2007. Since then, as the recipient of a number of residency fellowships, she has traveled and created paintings and drawings based on a variety of American topographies, from Peoria's industrial riverfront to the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Montana. As a member of the Midwest Paint Group she exhibits throughout the country.

MacLennan and Neary currently live in St. Louis. Their work can be viewed online at amymaclennan.com and http://michaelnearyart.com/

The latest mural will join several other works from the Gilbert Wilson Memorial Mural Project. These include the most recent work on the third floor of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum by David Erickson (ISU emeriti), Tom Torluemke’s mural at the Booker T. Washington Community Center, and the mural on the south wall of the old Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club building on South Third Street by Jeff Zimmerman.

Art students of Nancy Nichols-Pethick will assist with the new mural.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.