Outreach Partner Profile: T. C. Steele State Historic Site

“When people ask about the work of Lotus, we remind them that a good portion of what we do is made possible through powerful collaborations across the spectrum of our community. Teaming up with other organizations allows us to expand our reach to audiences and participants, lower costs by sharing resources and skill sets, and strengthen  programming on all sides.

The T.C. Steele State Historic Site is one of those partners. We’ve been lucky enough to work with them since 1996.”

– Lotus Outreach Director Loraine Martin

Brown County’s T.C. Steele State Historic Site celebrates the legacy of the painter who said, “Every morning I take off my hat to the beauty of the world.” A hidden treasure tucked into the foothills of southern Indiana, the 211-acre site is part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites system. It hosts artists in residence, produces special events throughout the year, and is part of Brown County Back Roads Tour.

mural-2upIn addition to a managing a full calendar of events, the Site’s staff also makes time to participate in our two largest outreach events, the Lotus Blossoms Bazaar and Lotus in the Park — where young people create free-form murals on large boards, using a T.C. Steele landscape for reference.

Arts Programs Developer Megan Richards says, “It’s a pleasure to see kids at the Bazaar discovering cultures of our world with such delight. We get to tie our local culture into that experience, by teaching students about an artist who created works that reflect the landscapes they’re familiar with.” She adds, “I just love to see what kids come up with.”

Property Manager Andrea de Tarnowsky was the Site’s longtime Lotus liaison. That first opportunity to be part of the Bazaar made sense, she says. “Our organization needs to be more visible in the community and working together with Lotus was a great opportunity, and an alignment of complimentary missions. It was a natural connection.”

Since the first Bazaar, T.C. Steele staff have overseen the creation of dozens of kid-created murals, some of which had been displayed at the Monroe County Public Library at special exhibitions. “I’ve always enjoyed being part of Lotus,” says Andrea. “It’s important for people to realize that what’s next door, so to speak, is also part of the world art and music.”

Find out more about the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, and about T.C. Steele himself.

Photo captions, from top: Young artists work on a mural in the T.C. Steele activity tent at Lotus in the Park at this year’s Festival (photo by Andy Qualls); Andrea de Tarnowsky (upper right) works with students at the 2013 Lotus Blossoms Bazaar; the T.C. Steele home and studio at the State Historic Site (courtesy photo).

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