100 years of history on display at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette

By Alyse Allred

Lafayette, Indiana—Just across the Wabash River, hidden among the South Ninth Street clamor, sits the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette. The building is unassuming, outfitted with a vandalized sign and hidden parking lot; however, this is a misleading cover to a museum with over a hundred years of history.

Founded in 1909, the museum is more than a privately-owned studio, but the only nationally accredited museum in northern Indiana.

Through the years, they have hosted exhibitions of various styles and artists: their current display shows the work of the nun and nurse-turned-painter, Sister Rufina, and her students.

Members of their permanent exhibit also show an unusual range for such a small museum. Hung across the walls of this exhibit are works from home-grown Indiana artists all the way to European Impressionists. Works are not limited to paintings either, as a number of sculptures—from realistic to abstract—sit on display. In the words of Claire Smith, a student intern working in the museum, it’s a “nice collection of things you wouldn’t think we had.”

Local artists have a place in the museum as well, selling their works through the gift shop. This part of the museum offers the same variety that characterizes other parts: paintings, sculptures, pottery, and other uncommon pieces for the passerby’s collection.

The art museum offers art classes to the general public, which range broadly over the artistic disciplines. In fact, have just concluded a special holiday workshop in which children were taught basic holiday arts and crafts, and then given a tour of the museum. Aside from this, the only class currently running is a workshop on felting; however, more classes are expected to start soon.

Despite the museum’s history, things are always subject to change. Recently, the museum announced that they are now open all seven days of the week, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m, and is free to the public. Exhibitions are rotated on a regular basis, while new artists are always offering their works for sale in the gift shop. With such changes in the future, make sure to keep an eye out for this unusual museum.


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