Bloomington Area Arts Council (Bloomington, IN)

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Female symposium attendee bending to the side examining a ball-shaped sculpture. The sculture surface is made up of carved leaves

Kathleen Houston-Stokes, a limestone symposium participant from Columbus, Ohio, takes a close look at Oakleaf Ball by Amy Brier during the opening reception for “Carved In Stone” at the Waldron Gallery in downtown Bloomington. Photo by David Snodgress, Herald-Times

Serving the Indiana counties of Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, and Owen, the Bloomington Area Arts Council (BAAC) provides the support and opportunities needed to develop, strengthen, and promote the region’s artists and arts organizations.  At its John Waldron Arts Center, BAAC exhibits work by regional artists and presents 75 performances a year--including dance, music, and theater.  BAAC also provides 350 multi-week classes for all age levels and offers grantmaking and technical assistance for artists and arts organizations.

In FY 2005, BAAC received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $10,000 to present the 9th Annual Indiana Limestone Sculpture Symposium, an exhibition of stone sculptures and an accompanying educational program.  The exhibition, which ran from June 4-25, 2005, featured a group of 20 national and international sculptors, made up of established artists, symposium participants, and apprentice carvers.  Most of the exhibition pieces were created using limestone, indigenous to southern Indiana and, as shown in the exhibition, a versatile medium for sculptors. 

The three-week symposium, held concurrent to the exhibition, featured week-long intensive workshops available to both beginning artists and professional sculptors who wished to learn unique sculpting techniques from artists-in-residence.  In addition to the classes, the symposium also included visual presentations by artists-in-residence, and lectures on the limestone industry, its important place in Indiana’s history, and limestone carving as a contemporary American tradition--all free and open to the public.  Many who attended the Carving in Stone exhibition had never before attended a gallery, and the number of visitors reached more than 2,400, including many who were drawn to the exhibition because of the focus it placed on limestone, an element so integral to the region.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)