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Modern Art Is Alive And Well In Greencastle, Indiana

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Contemporary art lives in Indiana – and not just in Indianapolis or Bloomington. Thanks to a couple of ambitious DePauw University graduates, Greencastle boasts an active modern art space that has people talking.

Modern Art In The Midwest

Low Road Gallery has taken it upon itself to debunk some myths about contemporary artwork and the Midwesterners who love it. According to the gallery's director Julie Rooney, the stereotype is "this isn’t New York, there isn’t contemporary art, and there isn’t a space for something that isn’t an oil painting."

She says this simply isn't the case. Since its opening two years ago, she has found that Greencastle is hungry for modern art. "We never dumb it down. We just bring in good work, and people really respond to it."

Hoosier Artists

The latest show is the final installment in a four-part series featuring artists from Indiana. Environments (B) includes sculptures and ceramics. It was preceded by another sculpture show and then two shows featuring paintings and photos.

Listening to Rooney talk gives you the impression that they could have programmed four additional shows featuring even more local artists. She says there are so many great artists in the area creating great work that it was difficult to choose who to show.

Bridging The Communities

24-year-old Rooney founded the gallery two years ago with Lukas Schooler when they were both seniors at DePauw University. It was through the generosity of some folks in the arts department at DePauw that they were able to score the gallery's prime, albeit quirky, location.

The building is halfway underground, which is how it earned its name. As they were remodeling the space, they discovered various treasures stored in the back rooms - saddles, an old un-tuned piano, and a printing press - perhaps from its days as a J.C. Penny store.

Most importantly, it is located between town and campus, so they are able to pull audiences from both. Rooney says the Galleries at Peeler display great work, but there was no gallery that was purely Greencastle and not DePauw.

"Everyone told us, 'Move to Bloomington. Move to Terre Haute. Move to Indianapolis.' We said, 'You know, Greencastle needs something like that, too.'"

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