IU Southeast announces permanent art exhibit with local ties

25th November 2014

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (Nov. 25, 2014) – A New Albany couple has pledged more than 50 works of art to IU Southeast to be part of a permanent exhibit featuring work by regional artists.

Wonderland Way Press Conference, Monday, Nov. 24.

Wonderland Way Press Conference, Monday, Nov. 24.

The James L. Russell Wonderland Way Collection will be housed at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural & Community Center at IU Southeast. A press conference announcing details of the project was held Monday, November 24, 2014, at 11 a.m. in the lobby of the Ogle Center at IU Southeast.

The collection is named in honor of James L. Russell (1872-1937), a New Albany, Ind. artist, who founded the Wonderland Way Art Club in 1906. Russell’s decorating and framing shop in downtown New Albany became an influential gathering place for regional artists to study and discuss art. More than 300 artists, living in or near New Albany, became known collectively known as the “Wonderland Way artists” after being inspired by a stretch of roads from Ohio to Illinois known as the “Wonderland Way.”

Kathy Smith, granddaughter of James L. Russell, and her husband, Don Smith, desired that a permanent collection of works by Wonderland Way artists be available for the benefit of the region, and pledged more than 50 pieces of Wonderland Way art from their personal collection—the first 10 of which were installed at the Ogle Center Thursday, Nov. 20.

This collection holds a vital place in the cultural landscape of the Southern Indiana-Louisville Metro community as it preserves the history and heritage of regional artists and their work. When completed, it will be the largest permanent collection of Wonderland Way artists in the world.

10367553_760351737369892_870881898717373940_n“This will be a world class project,” Don Smith said. “One that will draw art collectors from all over the world, surpassing anything anyone in this area has seen with regard to an art exhibit.”

Through the Smiths’ generosity, this collection preserves the history and heritage of the art of our region, and they encourage other Wonderland Way art collectors to follow their lead.

Don and Kathy Smith; Chancellor Ray Wallace; IU Southeast Development Officer, Rob Koenig; and Director of the Ogle Center, Kirk Randolph, will be available for interview at Monday’s press conference.

For more information about the James L. Russell Wonderland Way Collection, visit ius.edu/wonderland-way. To speak with someone about donating a piece of Wonderland Way art, contact the IU Southeast Office of Development at (812) 941-2464.


Read the Courier-Journal article here. 

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