Jeanne Amsler, professor of art history and humanities at Ivy Tech Community College, snapped a black and white photograph of the Ross Theatre right before its demolition in 1993. “The Ross was a big deal for young people in the area,” Amsler says. “It was the first East Side shopping center and theater, a place that still has value to people who grew up in the 50s and 60s.”
Amsler took the photo and hand painted it with oils, creating a one-of-a-kind, fine art painting, a medium she has long enjoyed working with. She sent the piece in to the 2012 Celebration of Hoosier Women Artist competition in March (in support of Women’s History Month), and was personally awarded by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman in Evansville as one of the 11 winners for the sixth annual competition. Amsler’s work, along with other award recipients, will be displayed in the Indiana State House in Indianapolis through the end of the year. Amsler represents the only award-receiving artist from Southern Indiana.
Following the digital flip in photography around 2007, Amsler has kept up with Photoshop and other digital techniques. “There’s a lot of new ways that make art fun,” she says. “I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and painting on black and white photos, but with digital there’s a lot more to try.” Still, Amsler is hesitant to give up her dark room.