‘Expression and Exploration’
First Fishers Art in Town Hall 0f 2013 features four unique perspectives
By Dan Domsic
Behind the bright colors and defining lines of each piece of art is a story – maybe a scene from a vacation or a fixture from childhood.
Or maybe the story isn’t what’s in the painting, but in the artist’s journey itself.
And all of these stories are on display at Fishers Town Hall, 1 Municipal Drive, now through March 1.
This year’s first Fishers Art in Town Hall event, Expression and Exploration, kicked off on Jan. 14 featuring four artists – Gina M. Baird, Mary Barg, Shakila Garugu and Joan Overholser.
Each artist brings a different background to the walls of town hall.
Baird brings the perspective of a professional steeped in the experiences of those who have endured trauma. She is an art therapist who works at the Julian Center and works with mostly women.
“I really get to assist them in creating their own symbolic language,” Baird said. “Trauma, in particular, is stored visually much of the time. We don’t often have the words to describe what we’ve been through. And so, it’s really powerful to see them connect with this inner light that they’ve been separated from.”
Baird recently received a creative renewal grant to create one of the series on display, and she will also use the grant to travel to Bali in May to take part in a painting retreat.
Across the floor from Baird is Garugu, an artist who taught herself how to paint, according to her Fishers Art in Town Hall biography.
Rich colors and realistic depictions abound in her pieces of animal life, human moments and more.
She teaches children and adults how to paint out of her Fishers home and said she believed it was important for people to learn about art and expression.
After touring the two artists’ displays on the first floor, visitors can head upstairs and see Barg’s works depicting outdoor scenes and floral arrangements.
Barg spent years in the Hamilton Southeastern Schools teaching, at various times, art, fourth grade and junior high.
Looking at her art in town hall, there’s an invisible underlying story.
Barg was inflicted by a neurological problem which caused her to lose the use of her right hand. She said her neurologist will not be able to identify exactly what happened until an autopsy is conducted after her death.
She has dealt with the ailment for nine years, but instead of putting away the paintbrush and packing away the easel, Barg taught herself to paint with her left hand.
On the west side of the second floor of Town Hall is housed the works of Overholser.
Once her house became an empty nest, she said she promised herself to start taking art lessons.
The western wall of Town Hall now displays the results of her promise kept and shows a display of places and scenes Overholser has experienced throughout her life.
“I think it (art) just broadens your vision,” Overholser said.
Barg said she couldn’t imagine a community without art, and Fishers Arts Council President Jocelyn Vare agrees.
“Our entire community benefits from opportunities like Art in Town Hall, where Fishers artists can connect directly with Fishers residents,” Vare said via email. “Fishers Arts Council is reaching out in 2013 to help spread the word to Fishers residents about how to experience local arts and culture. Residents are purchasing local art for gifts, home or office and, I think, are supporting Fishers artists more than ever.”
Future Fishers Art in Town Hall happenings
Feb. 9: Art Love: Spontaneous Watercolor Postcards to Those Who Give and Gallery Walk and Talk
– From 1 to 3 p.m., Gina M. Baird will teach up to 10 Girl Scouts (age 7 to 14) and four adult volunteers two techniques to create spontaneous watercolor postcards for those who work in human services. Pre-registration is required (email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Art Love with registration requests/questions). There is also a $5 material fee. Participants need to register by Thursday. From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Baird will participate in a Gallery Walk and Talk to explain her artistic process.
Feb. 16: Gallery Walk and Talk with Mary Barg
– From 1 to 3 p.m., Barg will talk about how she taught herself to paint with her left hand after losing the ability to paint with her right.
Feb. 23: Gallery Walk and Talk with Joan Overholser and Shakila Garugu
– Overholser and Garugu will talk about their artistic processes and their work.
All events take place at Fishers Town Hall, 1 Municipal Drive.